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A Matter of Perception: Urban Fantasy and Magical Realism Short Stories Paperback – June 20, 2014
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About the Author
Tahlia Newland is an editor and artist as well as an author. She makes masks and steampunk accessories that you can see at tahliasmasks.com, and she lives in an Australian rainforest with a husband and a cheeky Burmese cat who appears in all her book series.
Tahlia has studied Buddhism and meditated for many years, and her writing aims to help readers understand and learn to work with their minds so they can lead happier lives.
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A Matter of Perception
Tahlia Newland's A Matter of Perception, is a collection of urban fantasies and magical realism that is wonderfully written and thoroughly engaging. I enjoyed all the stories, which although unrelated, share a thread of meaning. All the characters are engaged experiences that fall on the edge between this reality and what lies beyond, some knowingly, others completely by accident. However, the author does a wonderful job of making all the situations believable and all the characters people I cared about.
My favorite story is Not Me, It Can't Be, which tells the story of an ancient priestess marked for sacrifice, who brings hope to her later incarnation, a woman undergoing chemo in modern times. A beautiful and moving re-incarnational drama.
I also enjoyed the first story, A Hole in the Pavement, a sweet tale about a shy man who find the strength to talk to his dream woman, a modern goddess, and at the same time figures out how to stop falling into holes.
Mistral's Mistakes is a darker tale of what can happen when psychic powers are studied for the purpose of power rather than the gift they offer, and how karma can be turned around to create unanticipated outcomes.
In The Bone Yard, a woman is hoodwinked by sirens of the sea, and in The Rose Colored Glasses, a modern woman discovers the truth about her office mates when she finds glasses that offer different versions of her reality.
A very satisfying collection by a talented writers. I recommend it highly.
While all of the stories in this collection are good, ‘Sacred Striptease’ is the one that really caught my eye.
‘Sacred Striptease’ takes us through an evening in the life of Lexie (Miss Electra), a stripper who works in a club frequented by mainly working class men stopping for a little entertainment before going home to their families. Told in the first person, the story shows the mental process of a woman who views what she does as art, not for titillation, but for entertainment. Lexie has a strong artistic connection and affection for the men who enjoy watching her perform, but is distressed by the presence of the Creep, a man who views her (in her view) not as a performer, but as a target for exploitation.
A profound treatment of subjects such as self-image, rape, and exploitation, this is a good short read that will entertain as much as Miss Electra’s artistic gyrations do. My only complaint is that the reader is never told why a former ballet dancer such as Lexie (not her real name we’re told) turned to stripping, and while the Creep is introduced and we’re led to believe he exerts a strong influence on Lexie (creating, we believe, a sense of fear and dread in her), he just disappears in the end with no real resolution to the tension, other than a slight surprise at the end, which I will not reveal so those who read the story can discover it for themselves.
Except for these two small weaknesses (in my personal opinion, I must stress), it’s a profoundly entertaining story, as are the others in this not-to-be-missed collection from an accomplished author.
I think I should start with the story I liked the least, which would have to be The Bone Yard, and that largely because I am on of those people who don't like stories that freak me out or scare me. But if you are one of those people who love the kind of horror/fantasy with a twist genre, then this story is so for you.
Now there was a huge range of stories in this collection, and I think my favorite was the story Not Me, it can't be which was really sad but also a really touching tale. The characters were really vivid and it was so easy to identify with and really feel for. This story was for sure my favorite of all of them because of the characters.
I thought the really fun story within the collection was Rose Coloured Glasses which is such an enjoyable read. This great pair of glasses allow for this girl to see people in a new light, and it is such a cool idea.
I thought the writing in all of the stories was really well done and really enjoyable. So if you are someone who enjoys short stories, this is a really good collection of stories. I really did enjoy them all.