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2018 Book #40 - Acquainted With The Night by Lynne Sharon Schwartz

This is a short story collection from 1985. I picked it up from my local used book shop because after reading a few pages, it reminded me a bit of Patricia Highsmith.

Turns out to be quieter than that; there's very little violence and the aha moment is usually a subtle shift in perception or feeling. These are character studies, where psychological undercurrents are revealed by interior monologue or small but unexpected actions.

I underlined this line:

It was not my game, but then lovers do play separate games.

I think my favorite story was one in which an accomplished author's accountant comes to her apartment on a Sunday afternoon, his young children from various marriages in tow. The children keep interrupting them, and the writer, although she is annoyed, is curious about what's eating at them. And then there are other distracting noises, people working on the roof... and then there are obstinate people setting up for a crafts fair in the room she uses for writing... clearly she's having a dream. But who is having the dream? Not the older author who has carved out a life of work & guarded solitude, but the younger woman who dreams of becoming her... the woman with a young family, shivering in bed with a fever, and the old woman curled up on her kitchen floor, unable to keep the chaos out of her sanctuary; they're the same person.

Or maybe I just remember that one best because it's the last one. A collection of short stories usually leaves me with a certain feeling but not a lot of detailed recall. Plots fade, the sense of character lingers. Like life, usually.

Tags: 2018 book reviews
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