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Artefacts and Other Stories by Rebecca Burns

Artefacts and Other Stories

by Rebecca Burns

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With skill and economy, Rebecca Burns allows us to slip into moments in the lives of her characters when the meaning and emotion of their struggles up to that point seems to compress. Memories overwhelm. New choices perhaps appear.

That compression of time can be triggered by an item, an artefact; perhaps a greatcoat, a letter, a bootie. Bits and scraps. Moments. Glimpses.In The Bread Princess, we discover that an array of bonnets can give us impressions of the changing attitudes in a small community across a century. In other stories we view obliquely into the psychological impact of the 1914-1918 war through unexpected portals: a kitchen, a railway waiting room, a cricket match.
These snippets about each of Burn’s characters are like a sheaf of loose pages fallen from the larger books of their lives. We discover enough to give us a feel for who they are and to wonder what will happen to them, even while we must accept that we’ll never get to read all of their pages, just as we cannot ever really know someone’ else’s life story.

I enjoyed this collection; and also recommend Catching The Barramundi and The Settling Earth. ( )
  Markodwyer | May 10, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Overall, Artefacts and Other Stories is an uneven but worthwhile read. Artefacts… improves with a second reading, as some of the themes are repeated and underscored. The idea of artefacts leading the themes in the stories is intriguing but sometimes, heavy-handedly done, as in” A Gathering of Relics” and “The Bread Princess.” The title story, “Artefacts,” almost makes it, and “Mayflies of Apollo” works well. The directness of “Tide” rings true., but often the artefacts’ meaning is confusing, as in “Dandelion.” The author needs to show more than just saying it tasted”sour, although promising sunshine.” This is not a good contrast, as sunshine does not “taste”. “Kansas” and “Defillibrate” are enjoyable with interesting characters and changes, but again the symbols are a bit obvious.
Burns has shown some talent in this collection and I would be interested to see how she develops in a second collection. The main criticism I have is that the link to history is sometimes unnecessary and unclear. She seems to assume we are aware of her train of thought at times and leaves out the important link. The stories that deal with present situations rather than harking to the past (“The Greatcoat”) are stronger. ( )
  mjbtaylor | Apr 10, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This short book of short stories was engaging at times - interesting snippets giving your a glance at times past. Some of the stories did leave you curious about what happened after the last page. I would recommend to someone with a free afternoon but at times my attention wandered away. ( )
  Cfraser | Feb 21, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This publisher wants to get around the ER rules by making you give your personal information to another site that will then spam your in box. I decided not to claim it. I don't need that hassle. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jan 8, 2018 |
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