Monday, December 31, 2012

"In the Driver's Seat," by Helen Simpson

Reviewers and blurbers have called the writing in the British writer Helen Simpson’s collection of short stories, “In the Driver’s Seat” (Knopf, 2007), “electric,” “virtuoso,” “faultless,” and “brilliant,” and although these descriptions may be over the top, the writing does deserve high praise. Many of the stories in this collection feature (mostly female) characters who are preoccupied with aging, illness, death, and grief, which makes for sad reading, yet because of Simpson’s original (and sometimes acerbic) take on these topics, I found myself completely absorbed in the stories. The last and longest story, “Constitutional,” is a bit more upbeat; as a middle-aged science teacher takes a mid-day walk, she observes the vegetation and people in the park at the same time as she ponders various events in her life, including a recent surprise that will change her life. This is a small book, and one I was intrigued and impressed by. Parenthetically, I have to thank my local library's book sale for, once again, putting in my path a book I might not have known about or read otherwise. And on a seasonal note: Happy New Year to readers everywhere!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter