Sunday, December 13, 2015
Book Review: Pieces Like Pottery
One of the books I read in November was Pieces Like Pottery, by Dan Buri. This is a collection of short stories about love, learning to deal with loss, and learning to forgive. Each of the stories in this anthology involves a fascinating group of characters.
The Gravesite tells the story of Mike and Lisa, a married couple trying to deal with the death of their only son. It is interesting to see how the two deal with their grief differently and how they react when new blog posts begin to appear on their son's blog. Lisa begins to think he might have somehow survived, while Mike seeks to find a more practical explanation. The story is well-crafted and well paced.
The Dominance of Nurture revolves around a man and his young son, who appears to have some handicaps. It asks us to consider the impact our choices have in our lives, and how they affect those around us. It also emphasizes the fact that much of who we are is affected by how we were raised, but at the same time, if we don't like who we are, we can fight to change it. This is a very interesting story, and I thought that the relationship between the father and his son was well written. I would like to see another story involving these two characters later in their lives.
Twenty Two was a powerful story and one of my favorites. It unfolded quite slowly and has some beautifully crafted sentences, as the author takes his time setting the scene. This story revolves around a bartender and one of his customers. Both men are struggling with grief in their own way, but while the customer is lost in his sorrow, the bartender has learned to cherish the life he does have and to accept the way that things are. At the end of the story, there is a twist, and a surprising connection between the two is revealed . It is a beautiful tale about forgiveness.
Expect Dragons is another one of my favorites in this collection. This story revolves around a young man, James, and the impact that his teacher, Mr. Smith, has in his life. Growing up, James struggles with coming to terms with his sexuality and his father's attempts to change him. His experiences in Mr. Smith's classroom teach him to accept himself. The relationship between the two characters is well done, as are the scenes where James has to cope with the fact that his beloved teacher is very ill.
Dies Cum Anxieta describes a day in the life of someone suffering from anxiety. The language that the author has used here to describe the main character's inner monologue is well done, and as someone who has dealt with these emotions before, it is one of the more hard hitting pieces in the collection.
Father is an interesting piece about misconceptions and how bad things can sometimes happen to good people. I thought the character of Micheal Birch was well developed, as was his relationship with his brothers and with the members of his parish. While the emotions that Micheal experienced as he was going through his ordeal, and his sense of helplessness really struck a chord with me, I was left feeling a little unsatisfied, as I thought that the story ended a bit abruptly.
The Ballad of Love and Hate is a story about a couple who is going through a rocky time in their marriage. It mostly focuses on a woman, and her experiences during the couple's trial separation. She interacts with various characters, including one from an earlier story in the anthology. Each of them teaches her something about love and loss, and ultimately have a positive impact on her life and her marriage. The story is a bit long and the style of the story caused some confusion at times, but overall, I enjoyed reading it.
In sum, this was a well-written collection of short stories, about people handling grief and loss in many different ways. After reading this, I came away with a lot to think about, and I look forward to reading more of the author's works.
My Rating: 4 stars
Happy Reading, and stay tuned for my December reviews!