Saturday, April 9, 2011
Review: Emerald City and Other Stories by Jennifer Egan
In The Stylist we are shown a moment in stylist Bernadette's life where, on a photo shoot in her thirties, she explores the choices she has made, their consequences, and what is great about her nomadic life.
In One Piece a young brother and sister struggle with the implications of a family tragedy years before where their mother was killed. This is as moving a family story as you could hope for and achieves, in its 16 pages, more than many novels, in terms of conveying a story of love and sacrifice.
In Puerto Vallarta a sixteen year old girl faces the dilemma of her young life when she is confronted by the deception of her much loved father and recognises her mother's isolation and strength for the first time.
Interestingly a number of the stories occur on holidays. This is a marvellous device, as it naturally lends itself to the process of self reflection and hopes for the future. In Letter to Josephine, this idea is explored further, when a woman, on one of many luxurious holidays with her husband, considers the choices they both have made and the aspects of themselves they have left behind and can no longer access.
I got the impression that this collection is the result of many years work; all of the stories are so thoughtfully conceived and elegantly executed. A Visit From the Goon Squad is Jennifer Egan's latest work of fiction and I can't wait to get my hands on it.