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Jigs & Reels: Stories (P.S.) by Joanne…

Jigs & Reels: Stories (P.S.) (2004)

by Joanne Harris

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I've enjoyed Joanne Harris' novels for about ten years; she's one of just a handful of female novelists I follow. Her ability to bring a location and an atmosphere to life for the reader is almost unparalleled, but those are qualities that are highlighted by the long form of the novel. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get with her short stories, and...well, I think my hesitation was justified.

It's not that the stories are in any way *bad.* They're not. Several of them simply feel very bitty. In a couple of cases, this is intentional; something like "Any Girl Can Be a CandyKiss Girl!" is intentionally tiny because it revolves around a single joke. Others, though, simply pull out the "gotcha" too far. I dare any experienced reader not to predict the general thrust of "The Ugly Sister," "Al and Christine's World of Leather" or "Last Train to Dogtown" within a couple of pages. It's not that they're written poorly, but they're predictable, and Harris doesn't get the length she needs to make the journey feel worthwhile regardless.

The best stories are, frankly, longer, and allow Harris to paint a picture through first-person perspective. "Gastronomicon" is just as simple, really, as some of the other stories mentioned, but it tickles the fancy a little bit more just through the sheer naivete of the narrator. Even better is "Class of '81," a quirky class reunion story, and best of all is "Breakfast at Tesco's," which finds a lover of old movies trapped as a bystander in a modern-day situation. Even "The Little Mermaid," which wears its fairy-tale-update aspect right there on its sleeve, is made more powerful through Harris' use of first person. ( )
  saroz | Dec 22, 2015 |
Classy collection of short stories. Lots of variety
Read May 2006 ( )
  mbmackay | Dec 6, 2015 |
rabck from MyssCyn; short stories. Uneven reading for me. Faith and Hope Go Shopping was a nice lark, Auto-da-fe was creepy but intriguing and written very tightly. But others were just too loosely written. ( )
  nancynova | Feb 11, 2015 |
most stories were good, a few stupid. ( )
  mahallett | May 14, 2014 |
I always find Joanne Harris' writing magical and absorbing. It doesn't do it for me quite as well in this collection of short stories, though. Some of them are enjoyable -- and I do like the 'punchline' of her stabs at the beauty industry -- but the quality isn't very consistent. I really like her way of describing things, and her descriptions of food are always amazing, but some of these stories just weren't as vibrant and colourful as I'd hoped.

I like that she has short introductions with each story. I like knowing what's in a writer's head that sparks the story.

Joanne Harris' books/stories are like comfort food for me -- goes down easy, doesn't satisfy for long. I always want a little more. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Twenty-two short stories (average length 12 pages) on a variety of themes (including, of course, from this author, food). There are characters from fairytales and fantasy, and satirical treatment of current concerns - obsession with image and celebrity (many celebrity names are dropped in), plastic surgery, kinky sex aids, paedophilophobia, road rage. Particular savagery is reserved for the commercial exploitation of young girls - the author has a young daughter. Somewhat egotistical personal notes precede each story.
added by KayCliff | editNew BooksMag, Hazel K. Bell (May 31, 2014)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552771791, Paperback)

Take your partners, please. Suburban witches, defiant old ladies, ageing monsters, suicidal Lottery winners, wolf men, dolphin women and middle-aged manufacturers of erotic leatherwear: in Joanne Harris' first collection of short stories the miraculous goes hand-in-hand with the mundane, the sour with the sweet, and the beautiful, the grotesque, the seductive and the disturbing are never more than one step away. This is an eclectic selection of tales for our times that shows a side to Joanne Harris you have never seen before. So go on, be tempted. After all, it's only dancing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In these 22 short stories by Joanne Harris, the miraculous goes hand-in-hand with the mundane, the sour with the sweet, and the beautiful, the grotesque, the seductive and the disturbing are never more than a step away.

» see all 4 descriptions

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