Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy. This collection of 18 speculative stories, including three never found in print before, explores the meaning of love, and, of course, of poison.
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Love & Other Poisons based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I received this book in exchange for a review; this review is of the digital version of the book. Excerpted from my blog review: Right out of the gate, the stories don't fall into too-familiar archetypes. They don't all follow the expectations we get for short stories from our mountains of literature or creative writing courses. What do they do? They weave a moment of time, a series of events, into a mural that stands out and stands up against the mundanity in which they exist. (Though I'd argue that some of the worlds the author presents through these stories are anything but mundane, even if you are steeped in fantastical literature.) One theme that spoke strongly to me and I thus saw repeated was that of escaping with a "magical" companion. Don't read 'magical' literally - though you could. (That's a part of the allure of the collection on the whole - the promise and lure that something could be taken as so much more than it is, or that you can take at face value.) My favorites: "Man in Blue Overcoat" "Shedding Her Own Skin" "Distant Deeps or Skies" "A Puddle of Blood" These four stories interestingly contain an equal balance of staying and leaving, and being tempted away from one's regular life. But it's not quite temptation; in at least a couple cases, it is an opportunity for escape. I wonder if Theresa ever accepts the offer of the nahual. Honorable Mentions: "Kaleidoscope" - the theme here is other lives. This story resounded with me as this is a scenario I've conjured in my mind in relation to particular people in my life. If it's nothing you've experienced, you might not connect the same way to the story. "Enchantment" - oddly enough, this is the story I was reading when the stranger on the bus interrupted me. It's about self-narratives and the people around us who might choose to play the roles we've assigned them, and what happens when we ruin our own stories by pushing too hard, lingering too long in a moment. "A Handful of Earth" - can't knock a callback to Dracula and what happens to his 'brides' when he's gone away. It's a look into the evolution of a vampire, and what that story might look like from the inside. I could go on and on about almost every story in the collection. There's nothing bad for me to say about any of them. Some I obviously liked more than others, but I didn't dislike any of them. I didn't find any of them particularly "weak" and none of them felt like filler. Though my experience is admittedly sparse when it comes to single-author short story collections, this one stands as a very solid example. It is likely to be the standard against which I judge other single-author collections going forward. Many of these stories crafted worlds I wanted to explore beyond their boundaries. That is the beauty of a well wrought short piece; being able to tell a story in the context of a whole other world that makes sense, and to make it feel as though there is a whole wide, fleshed-out world behind it. It leaves you wanting more but not unsatisfied. Silvia Moreno-Garcia nails it.