Anthologies. They are the perfect companion when you are strapped for time, on a trip, or trying to get one of your non-reader friends to read. There are a various variety of story genres contained within these anthologies. Whether you skip over one story in order to read another, it’s your choice. A Spell in Winter anthology by Jonathan Dodd, however, is not one of those anthologies.
For the last two days, I’ve been reading this on my breaks, lunch, and right after I’ve gotten off work. Lately, I’ve been strapped for time but I still wanted to read. This could not have come at a better time!
“The short stories in this assured first collection range in place and time – from a young man’s uncertain return to the English countryside of his childhood at the end of the First World War (In the Merry Month of May), to a contemporary London pub meeting about the recovery of a debt (Getting It Sorted); from the world of knocker-boys and antiques runners in eighties Brighton (The Bibliophiles), to a Scottish farmer’s romantic decision during a day’s hedging (The Hechle).
What they have in common is the same assured mastery of language and of ordinary speech, and the same powerful evocation of place and time. These are also narratives which deftly explore the hidden intricacies of the human heart: tales of unconventional love and illicit love, tales of uxorious love and infidelity, of love triangles, and of long-lost love.
And all the stories gathered here share a common sensibility, too; one which seeks to uncover the profound within the minutiae of everyday life and work, and which reveals with insight and compassion the tightrope we all walk between the debilitating threat of loss and the hope which sustains us…”
The “lost love” element in the first story Mon Amie Isabelle. It hit a nerve for me by making me remember someone just like Isabelle to Jack, the speaker. Jack reminisces through the story of things him and Isabelle did. Isabelle, on the other hand, does not wish to recall their times. Instead, she still wants to live her life away from him without reliving painful memories continuously. Honestly, this one was my favorite one out of the whole collection.
In my opinion, there is a story for everyone in this collection. But be prepared to keep the tissues nearby. Also bring your passport along, you’re on the trip of a lifetime!
If you’d like to get your hands on this anthology, you can find them here:
Amazon UK: Here
My Review: 8 out of 10 Book Charms