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"Barefoot Dogs" by Antonio Ruiz-Camacho
An unforgettable debut of linked stories that follow the members and retinue of a wealthy Mexican family forced into exile after the patriarch is kidnapped.
A collection of 26 short stories, based around the cultural, political and social happenings of 1989.
I was absolutely impressed with every story in this collection - and that happens rarely for me; there's usually one or two stories that are a little ho-hum, but not here. Maybe it was because I was in my late teens in 1989 and can relate to the times that are central to these stories, maybe it is because the editor has picked a collection of brilliant stories to fill this anthology.
Was good to see some stories from names I already knew (Icy Sedgwick, Lily Mulholland, Laura Eno, Jodi Cleghorn) but I was just as impressed by the new names (at least, new to me) such as Emman Newman, Jo Hart, Laura Meyer and many others.
I was given a copy of Eighty Nine by the editor, Jodi Cleghorn, without any expectation of promotion. When I read the collection, I was so delighted by the consistent quality of the stories, I offered to post reviews.
Anthologies, even from a single author we admire, tend to be a bit up and down depending on our individual tastes. I read the opening stories of Eighty Nine and enjoyed them, then found I was up to the middle of the book and still reading avidly without wanting to pause, not even between stories. There are 26 individual tales here, based, as the blurb reveals, on a playlist of songs from 1989, and I did not rate any one of them less than a high 3 from 5. In those cases where I liked them less, it is definitely a question of taste rather than poor penmanship. Every story brings a different style and a different subject, [all a little bleak, as reflects the mood at the end of the nineteen eighties] so I will share those I enjoyed most.
30 Years in the Bathroom, by Icy Sedgwick- It is 1989 and Diana Phelps, an aging star, stares at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Her age is well hidden, but she made her film debut thirty years earlier and now not even her beauty is sufficient to bring her the work she loves or the adoration she craves. Reduced to begging, she pleads for Aphrodite to renew her charms, but the gods are as fickle as fame itself. (5)
Nowhere Land, by Maria Kelly- The residents of Area Zero watch as a new inmate is discharged from The Bullet. It's a door, the only link they have with the real world, and they hope endlessly for a newcomer with a textbook that will help them understand where they are.Read more ›
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