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Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer

Swim Back to Me

by Ann Packer

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Nice collection of short stories. ( )
  readingfiend | Aug 10, 2013 |
About the best I can say for most of this collection is "meh." The experience was similar to watching your typical summer comedy in a movie theater: you enjoy the show, it made you happy for a few moments, and your forget about it a couple hours later. I really liked parts of "Walk for Mankind" as I think Ms. Packer really nailed the adolescent boy chasing a girl he wants but doesn't know to get sort of trope, but I also didn't quite get the characters' motivations at times. Sure, Sasha rebelling against her parents made sense (and it was wholly unnecessary to point that desire out in the last story in the collection) but why in the world did Richard fixate on the gentlemen from the walk as someone to reach out to? I was left rather befuddled by that and other actions of Richard's, which left me feeling somewhat hollow by the end as I really enjoyed about 85% of the story, but that last 15% of confused motivations rather ruined it.

I did enjoy "Jump" and "Dwell Time" as I felt both of those stories were realistic and built upon interesting premises (man keeping his background a secret, husband disappears suddenly) with characters I cared about. But other stories, namely "Molten", "Her Firstborn", and "Things Said or Done" were rather forgettable for me personally. I know I was supposed to care about the mother in "Molten" and I could feel her grief, but it just did not resonate with me. While I liked the idea in "Things Said or Done" of connecting back to the first story, I did not feel as if I gained additional insight into the characters and thus it felt a bit like a wasted effort.

At the end of the day, I thought this was decent, but it did not move me in the way that other short story collections have in the past. Frankly, I was just disappointed that Ms. Packer could not complete "Walk for Mankind" in a way that felt satisfying, and much though I liked "Jump" and "Dwell Time", I don't think they'd be enough to make me want to revisit this. ( )
  Raven9167 | Apr 13, 2013 |
Oh, for an editor on "Walk for Mankind". Oh, for someone to suggest the "Molten" had been written before - and better. (And yes, unlike others here, I am an avid short-story reader. Wish more people were.) ( )
  olevia | Apr 5, 2013 |
Although I'm not usually a fan of collections of short stories, this one spoke to me. The story about the mother mourning the death of her teen son cuts right to the bone. Her choice at the end is one of the most honest things I've read. Every story in this collection made me pause and marvel at Packer's insights into human motivations and the ties that connect us all...and the costs associated with those connections. A beautiful book. ( )
  3goldens | Aug 13, 2012 |
Short stories that I found to be rather strange. ( )
  nancylay | Sep 22, 2011 |
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Packer's sterling collection of stories is framed by two novellas: "Walk for Mankind" about teenager Richard Appleby and his bittersweet relationship with Sasha Horowitz, a rebellious, risk-taking 14-year-old, who has a clandestine affair with a drug dealer; and, "Things Said or Done" set three decades later, when Sasha, now 51 and divorced, has become Richard's caretaker.… (more)

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