(I know…two book reviews after a long period of silence…Sorry. Been mighty busy. Got some stuff I want to write soon, just have to find the time)
Book reviews of short story compilations just never seem to be something I feel I can do while giving the actual compilation justice. Reviewing each story on its own doesn’t give you a true idea of what how the compilation works as a whole, and reviewing the compilation often comes across as rather vague and generic. But…I go with the second option all the same.
Cat Nicolaou’s short story compilation seems to be the author’s attempt to time and again subvert not only the romance genre, but also the reader’s expectations. Nicolaou appears to have fun leading the readers on to expect one ending, while turning it around on you and giving you something completely different. Until you begin to expect the unexpected and she hits you with something a bit more of what you should have expected. Life, Love and Death is an amazing compilation in that it seems so perfectly curated. These aren’t just stories with a common theme, they, at many times, almost come across as stories that are directly connected.
We see old couples fighting, but then we see old ladies missing what they once had. We find ladies running away from stalkers, while also finding stalkers getting what they deserve (or do they?). Throughout this compilation, Nicolaou forces the reader to question what they know to be the truth, and often times sheds light on a much different aspect of a tale that we’ve come to know through other writer’s efforts.
This is a mighty strong effort by a new author and I can’t wait to see what she might have waiting for us in the future.