Thursday, June 30, 2016

He Runs the Moon: Tales from the Cities by Wendy Brandmark

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

He Runs the Moon is a collection of wonderfully atmospheric stories of life in the rundown Capitol Hill area of Denver in the early 1970s, in the Bronx, New York during the 1950s & 60s and in the Boston and Cambridge area in the 1970s.

Brandmark, a great storyteller in the American tradition, draws you in. Take the Denver stories which form a narrative of a Gothic city populated by people who feel they don’t quite belong. In one story female creative writing students are all secretly in love with their professor but does he really register them at all? Can a girl become emotional attached to a temperamental red Mustang? You bet, especially after her boyfriend leaves for Los Angeles.

Figures from the ‘old world’ haunt the children and adults in the Jewish community of New York City. A troubled granny with a head that is bothering her, and the ‘witch’ in the basement flat, who comes to the rescue when a child is lost and has dark marks, like figures from a book, on her lower arm.

In the Boston tales characters piece together dreams from the fragments of their lives. Be transported, for example, to the world of an obsessive dental hygienist, and the occupational hazards of sharing rooms in a dull green clapboard house which seemed to pitch and heave.

my thoughts:

Short stories are where its at! I'm serious! They are only a few (or several) pages long and have the ability to transport, transform, and entertain its reader.  Packed with depth, complexity, insight, and emotion - how can I not love the short story? They are simply the best! So, when I find a new-to-me author who writes short stories, I am beyond excited.  New stories to get lost in - what more could I want?

In, He Runs the Moon, a collection of shorts by Wendy Brandmark, I have found a new favorite.  I am in love with her writing, her characters, her storytelling prowess. She is the bees knees and I am hooked!

The stories are set in the 50s, 60s, and 70s in Denver, Boston, and NY.  They are diverse, interesting, and unputdownable!  I just loved the ways in which Brandmark explored the themes of relationships and displacement. She deftly captured the emotional and physical experiences related to emigration - in whatever form it may be (leaving one's country, moving to a new city, etc.).  And her realistic portrayal of the twists and turns in relationships is raw and honest. The way she manages to peel off the layers of these characters' emotions literally and figuratively via material objects and the surreal (dreams) was fantastic! You can't help but feel the pain, alienation, and fragility that these characters are experiencing.  Plus, I loved the  detached tone she used to express these stories in - it seemed to fit the narrative perfectly and add another layer of depth to her stories.  Brandmark did an excellent job with this collection.  I absolutely loved it!

I would happily recommend He Runs the Moon to fans of short stories and fans of Brandmark's writing - you will fall in love with this book!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!!

No comments: