May 22, 2011

Women and Other Monsters

Enter into the twisted mind of writer Bernard Schaffer in his collection of short stories, Women and Other Monsters.  The collection consists of 5 short stories that are each different, dark and deserving to be read.  Each story is written with lots of character and beautiful descriptions.  You actually feel like you're there; you can hear the voices, feel the temperature in the room even.  And yet, that is all that connects these stories, as they are each unique from one another.  

1. The Reluctant Death:  This is the first short story in the collection.  It is placed pre-civil war, on a plantation farm.  Folklore, mysticism and darkness rule here, but there is still a hidden gentleness that emerges.  I found this one to be beautiful and mysterious. 

2.  Codename: Omega:  This story was wild, adrenaline pumping and tricky.  An American soldier is killed in action during World War 1... only, he's not really dead.  He's a superhuman who becomes a secret agent, bent on kicking some serious Nazi tail.  Basically, if you liked Quentin Tarantino's, Inglorious Basterds, you'll enjoy this too! 

3.  Room Service:  This story will make you laugh out loud and root for the underdog (for a change).  With all these good-guy-vampire books out now, it's refreshing to read the opposite.  When Rob's stripper girlfriend goes missing after a "home call", he decides to investigates and doesn't like what he finds.  Having nothing to lose, he decides to take his revenge.  This story was my personal favorite... good fun.

4.  Cold Comforts:  A married couple struggles to find intimacy with one another after the death of their unborn child.  While she searches for answers at any cost, he finds comfort with another.  This story made me do a double take... how twisted can you get, Mr. Schaffer? ;)

5.  Nazareth:  This story is written very well.  It unravels slowly and has a shock factor that will make you want to re-read it.  Two alien researchers are studying Earth and the human life form.  They discover DNA and decide to change all of humanity with one simple act.  Although this story will take you by surprise, you will also find yourself taken by Schaffer's cleverness and satirical humor.  

So if you like folklore, history, war, vampires, family dramas or sci-fi, this is the book for you!  There really is something for everyone!

Overall, this collection is great.  You will peel through it, just to see if the next one can possibly be better than the last.  And, as I said before, since they are so vastly different from one another, it's hard to compare.  The only thing that was not in my taste, was that once he gave you the shock factor, the story ended.  There was no wind-down or conclusion... just an open end for your own imagination to conclude.  Like at the end of a great movie, when you go, "WHHHAAAT?!" (Inception, anyone?).  Other than that, it was flawless.

5 stars

*This book is currently only available in e-book format*

I was given a free copy of this book to review. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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