Monday, 28 October 2013

Book Review: Pelt And Other Stories

Pelt And Other Stories
By Catherine McNamara 
Published by Indigo Dreams Publishing
ISBN: 9781909357099

Pelt and Other Stories is a clever short story collection which will transport you across the world in eighteen stories, from Africa to Europe via Australia.

There are unspoken tensions in each story. The narrators must deal with dirty family secrets and lies, neglected childhoods, misunderstood love and isolation. Our narrators must do anything to stay ahead.

McNamara delves into the way relationships between our families and our lovers hold us together and the way tradition forbids some relationships. McNamara explores both sides - in Pelt, we see a relationship struggling to work between a western man and a local African woman but both go against tradition. Whilst there are also stories showing the way people tip toe around tradition and try to hide away their passions. In Janet and The Angry Trees, Luca takes his girlfriend to live as a carer at his parent's house. He leaves her in charge of his parent's care and drives back to his wife.

On the surface, McNamara has many protagonists who appear weak and can be pushed to the side but McNamara explores the way characters fight back. In Pelt, the opening story, the narrator is pregnant with the baby of a Western man. However, his estranged wife is in town and the pregnant girlfriend is put on the backburner while they go off to posh hotels. But our narrator will not let her partner escape that easy and she shows him that she's not for bossing around.

McNamara also explores the relationship people have with their country, particularly Africa. In some stories, we see the character return to their home country and find that they are an exile. They have lost the connection that they once had with the land. The way modern life and social mobility has pushed tradition aside is a strong and interesting theme throughout this intelligent short story collection. Displacement and the need to reattach to a new homeland drives many of the characters. McNamara makes sure that each journey is engaging.

McNamara's strong short story collection can easily be read in a few sittings or even dipped in and out.

***Catherine will be stopping by on Thursday to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop Q&A***

Pelt and Other Stories is available from your favourite book retailer. 

The author was kind enough to send me a copy. 

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