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Broken Things (Salt Modern Fiction S.) by…
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Broken Things (Salt Modern Fiction S.)

by Padrika Tarrant

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This is a short collection of very short pieces, all which are about women who are somehow off, and some, rather psychotic. The writing is wonderful at times, with great use of detail and imagination.

I really liked [Broken Things], although it took me a long time to read for a book so short. The stories are strange and dark, and it's difficult to read more than one or two at a time, even though they are so short. It's tiring to introduce my brain to a whole new world, new characters, and new story every four or five pages, especially since they were all so odd.

Blurbers on the back cover compare the stories told in [Broken Things] to Angela Carter, Maurice Sendak, Edward Gorey, Neil Gaiman, and Jan Svankmajer. ( )
  Nickelini | Nov 13, 2014 |
This collection of 19 very short stories, blends the surreal with the psychotic, the whimsical and the wacky, the real and the unreal, in sketches of people - mostly women - often doing some pretty crazy things. The stories/sketches are both tender and touching, yet disturbing, and I found that, despite their short length, I could only read a couple of these at a time.

Tarrant writes wonderfully and her prose is full of wonderful metaphors and imagery. Her first paragraphs are masterful—drawing you immediately. Here's three examples:

"Until today, I always pushed a pram, just in case I find a baby. People lose them all the time, don't they, so the chances are some day I'll get lucky and pick one up."

"The night bus splits the city lengthwise, leaving ribbons of road that are jumbled with the haunches and elbows of houses. It isn't dark, not among these blinkless, brainless streetlamps."

"They came to Mrs. Hope at dusk. The messages was for her along, although plain enough for anyone to have seen it: in the middle of the weather forecast, the girl said that a few front was coming. Coming, she repeated, and she looked right through the screen at Mrs. Hope, to make sure that they understood one another."

Thing is, you are never really sure where she is taking you! Her stories and characters often walk a fine line between reality and fantasy and it's a slippery tightrope. I don't agree with the comparisons to Angela Carter, but I think I understand why they make the comparison. Ironically and perhaps unexpectedly, her stories brought to mind some of Joyce Carol Oates stories of mentally-ill or deranged people that I'd read this year, although the Tarrant's style couldn't be more different.

It will be very interesting to see where Padrika Tarrant takes this talent, because I just might want to follow.

First posted elsewhere on LT, 2010 ( )
1 vote avaland | Dec 7, 2012 |
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