Friday 24 August 2007

Winter of Different Directions by Steven J. McDermott

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketPublished by Storyglossia Press

Steven J. McDermott has put together a stunning collection of short stories which captures the reader's attention and imagination from the beginning. This collection of stories features characters who are so vivid and memorable, mainly because they are so average, people you can bump into on the street every day. There are twenty stories in all, and each of them is wonderfully different from the rest.

In Swept Aside,a young man has reached the end of a relationship with his wife. He turns to an old friend for support and after a little soul searching, he decides he needs to give their marriage another try. He parks outside their home and seeing that she is not home he awaits her return, little expecting the confrontation that is heading his way.

In Crane Man, we are introduced to a young man who lives in a high-rise studio apartment and who lives with the daily frustration of having a crane operator peeking into his home with a set of binoculars. It finally becomes too much and his plan to cure the Crane Man of his habit is not only genius but hilarious too.

In Seven Blocks North, Two Miles East we are introduced to a boy with a speech impediment who is beaten regularly, by student and teacher alike. The latter finally opens a door to a new and surprising friendship as two former enemies join forces to achieve a common goal.

These three are just a small example of the tales within this book. Each has a unique quality and charm that will make it hard to choose favourites though I admit mine were the ones listed above, as well as Cleanliness is Next to Emptiness, Tough Act, and Tools.

Whether you savour each story seperately or like me, devour the entire book in one sitting, this book will not disappoint. I love that it has so much passion, so much raw energy and some of the tales, if not most of them, are written in a great style where the author doesn't simply tell a story, but inspires the imagination of the reader to provide their own details. I found myself asking lots of questions as I read. I wanted to know more about the character I had just been introduced to and often I wished I could read more about them, especially their history. It's by far one of my favourite short story collections and I will be watching for more by Steven J. McDermott.

Author's website: If you visit the site, you can hear many of these stories read by the author himself.


Katie said...

I usually don't read short stories. I always feel as if there must be more and I've missed it somewhere along the way. But this one sounds like a fantastic collection. I'll have to take a look at it next time I'm in a bookstore.

Literary Monthly said...

'Seven Blocks North, Two Miles East' was my favorite. But I also really liked 'Nothingness' and 'Blue Jeans and Black Leather.' And a number of the others as well. Good book, I recommend it.

Be sure to check out Storyglossia '06 which is a compilation of the writers from Storyglossia. It's as good a collection of short stories as you'll find.