Monday, February 22, 2010

Easy for You by Shannan Rouss

I met Shannan Rouss at ALA in Boston this past January. Her reading had a certain rhythm that became more evident as she worked through her initial nervousness. When I approached her for a signature, I found out my copy of her first book would be the first she ever signed.

The collection of stories have varying levels of amusement, pathos, dry humor, and near belly laughs. I can’t quote from the stories, because I only have an Advance Uncorrected Reader’s Proof, but I can assure you, faithful reader, I will buy a hard cover of Easy for You when it comes out in March.

My favorite of the collection relates the story of an elderly man protesting the construction of a mansion opposite his nondescript home, which he has occupied for more than several decades. Max finds himself on a one-man crusade. “Beverly Hills Adjacent” has a voice I can hear of an elderly man, alone, missing his wife, his children, and his youth. He takes on this protest in an attempt to fill in some of these holes in his life.

Six of the ten stories have a woman narrator, and the four narrated by men lose nothing in the telling. The most poignant story is “Neither Here Nor There.” This slightly suspenseful story has an eerie feeling about a dead child.

I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these stories. 5 stars

--Chiron, 2/22/10

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