Distant Voices, by Barbara Erskine

>> Monday, October 08, 2007

TITLE: Distant Voices
AUTHOR: Barbara Erskine

PAGES: 488
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins

TYPE: Anthology - varies

REASON FOR READING: There are tons and tons of Barbara Erskine books in charity shops here, and I enjoyed the two of hers that I've read.

In her second volume of short stories, which follows the hugely successful Encounters, Barbara Erskine has created a wide and vivid range of worlds and emotions, From love, romance, loneliness, grief, to betrayal, passion, adventure and compelling suspense.

A biographer investigating a tragic death hears voices from the past drawing her towards the truth... A nineteenth-century parson's daughter is caught tip in the excitement and romance of a smuggling intrigue... A young boy from a deprived background finds his own haven in the wastelands of the inner city... A young woman, struggling to choose between love or her career, finds help from an unexpected source...

Contemporary, historical, spooky, humorous, there are over thirty delightful stories, each one guaranteed to capture the reader's imagination, and all demonstrating Barbara Erskine's unique powers its a storyteller.
MY THOUGHTS: Of those 488 pages I've read only 34. Three short stories, and not one of them I thought was worth reading, so I just quit.

Let's see: the first story was about a journalist who's investigating an old mysterious death and sees some ghostly apparitions in the house where it happened. This one was probably the best of the three, but still very mediocre. Nothing really happens, and this is not compensated by great characterization or atmosphere, or anything like that. So the story just felt pointless. Why am I being told about this, why should I care?

Then the second was about a woman whose estranged husband, a high-powered businessman, comes back after years and tells her he's dropped out, become a poet and now wants her to represent him. Could have been ok, but it was very boring and again, pointless.

And the third I hated. It was about a woman who's married to her childhood sweetheart, and basically tells about how he cheats on her and she almost does the same, but instead, decides to forgive him. For the third time, totally boring and pointless and horrible, with cardboard characters and a really screwed-up message. Ugh.

Anyone read this one? Are any of the following stories worth it?

MY GRADE: DNF for this one, and I think if no one tells me I should give such and such a story a try, it goes back to Oxfam.


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