Friday, April 30, 2021

A Place to Be


In this haunting collection, one of Jesse Falzoi’s characters imagines the word “Wuthering” means “From all directions and never the one you anticipated.” Using this definition, these are Wuthering stories, coming at life from many angles, each one full of surprise and illumination. Falzoi’s characters thrum with yearning—for connection, for meaning, for a place to be, to belong. They will find a permanent home inside your heart.

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Jess Falzoi’s A Place to Be is a collection of stories that burn in you long after you have read them - be prepared to be haunted by a strong voice, a strong sense of place and a strong energy driving each story. Falzoi is a hybrid AS Byatt and Raymond Carver - she combines an urgent, existential stark Minimalism with a complex tapestry of rich inner lives of her characters. Each story is a lattice, a delightful,  delicately woven fabric where relationships are held together by the finest of threads. These stories are sensitively told, emotionally taut, the words  explosive, the form inventive. A Place to Be is Einstein's cottage in candlelight, a chance encounter in the back seat of an ex-pimp's car in a barren nowhere place in Northern California, being barricaded with a mother and her children in an apartment in a post apocalyptic black out: these stories will surprise and dance in you, and burn their way into your heart.

Paul Williams 

I find reading a short-story collection is far more exciting than opening a box of assorted chocolates. After all, there is a guide on the lid so you can leave the ones you're not keen on for your boyfriend and eat all the cherry and strawberry soft-centres for yourself; it's not what I call an assortment. They are fixed and predictable. In this anthology, all you know is that you will enter worlds which seem understandable at first but will confound your expectations In 'When the Curtain Closes', the setting is a typical first-world city of supermarkets, schools and fully-equipped apartments where, in one, a mother whose husband is away on business tries to keep her two children calm, clean and fed during a catastrophic power failure. However, the more you read, you realise their lives, while seemingly normal with homework and teeth-brushing eating sandwiches and pasta is unreal. Could this be the Apocalypse or perhaps a metaphor for a marriage-breakdown? And then the lights work. This is not a let-down ending as I still can't stop thinking about it. Each time I read it, I found something new. And so it is with all these stories. Here's another example. 'The Last Planet' opens with a couple eating in a restaurant and the man says that he wishes to end their relationship. Only, the heart of the story is how that man looks after a younger - a stranger – he meets on a bus who has drunk too much and has been sick all over him so he takes her home and meets her younger brother and much, much more.

That's why I love literary fiction and why it always intrigues me. It's never boring or predictable. If I offer a small caveat it's that many of the stories read too much like American creative-writing class exercises, such as writing from the second-person viewpoint or using the vocative case. Having said that, keep your eye on Jesse Falzoi. I like her style and expect to read more.  

Sally Zigmond

Ich habe diese tolle Kurzgeschichtensammlung regelrecht verschlungen und kann sie absolut empfehlen. Es sind sehr tiefgehende, nachdenklich stimmende Geschichten, die mich zum Teil auch noch längere Zeit nach dem Lesen ganz schön beschäftigt haben.
Die zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen zwischen den Protagonisten,
die mal zufällig und mal weniger zufällig aufeinander treffen, sind sehr fein und sensibel nachgezeichnet.
Eine klare Empfehlung für LeserInnen, die gern Kurzgeschichten lesen und auf der Suche nach wirklich interessanten und berührenden Stories sind, die unter die Haut gehen und einen so schnell nicht mehr loslassen.


ISBN: 9781907335655

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