- File Size: 1230 KB
- Print Length: 61 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Severest Inks; 1st edition (September 6, 2014)
- Publication Date: September 6, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00NE5DP5K
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,923,596 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Exchange Kindle Edition
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The black and yellow cover of The Exchange consists of the book spines of various books stacked one atop the other except for a pair leaning against the stack. The titles, South Africa, Women, Sex, Love, and Flirtation, among others are strong indicators of the subject of the story.
The Exchange introduces us to half a dozen married and unmarried female members of different ethnicities of a book club that was originally a wine club until one became an alcoholic. The book club meets monthly, in between which one of them is tasked with taking their books to a local book exchange where the books become “loaners” for other patrons, and the book club can select loaners for themselves.
The Exchange reveals the backgrounds of these women and what each bring to the table regarding their relationships and their opinions of relationships in general. As the story progresses we learn that not all is as publicly presented, even among themselves. There are secrets, misinterpretations, withheld information, decisions and the intended and unintended consequences of such decisions.
The primary character is Pattie, followed by her best friend Nel, and in receding order, Amina, Maggie, Xandi, Mandy, and Reese. Pattie’s husband, Walter, is the primary though not most influential male presence, followed by Erick, a clerk at the book exchange. Each character brings their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as secrets, to the table. Pattie, for example, the intermediary between the book club and the book exchange, brings her unspoken unhappiness and restrained envy of Nel; there is Nel’s worldly non-judgmental eroticism; Maggie’s practical/cynical post-divorce attitude, and Amina’s judgmental and happily married attitude, though her husband was chosen for her by her parents.
The Exchange is a quick and easy read not because it is a short story, but because it relies on a minimal description of the characters and their surroundings. The story unfolds through the verbal interaction of the characters as well as the physical actions of Pattie and Walter, Nel, and Erick. Pauls has written her story more like a play rather than literature, but the process works. In that sense we read the heart of the story rather than peer through some mass paperback or literary description of people, their inner thoughts, and the physical places they are at.
True, we still read of physical locations, even the make of a car, but the descriptions are so brief that we are returned to the story’s flow quickly.
I was drawn into The Exchange due to the literary skills of the talented Charmaine Pauls. From what I have seen of life, Pauls is able to translate her own observations into an engaging and enjoyable read that feels real and not some fictional creation.
The Exchange http://severestinks.com/The-Exchange/ is available from Severest Inks, a United Kingdom publishing house that bills itself as “The home of sharp, subversive, challenging literature.”
Mary Judith Ress