- Paperback: 166 pages
- Publisher: LeRue Press; 1ST edition (2013)
- ISBN-10: 1938814037
- ISBN-13: 978-1938814037
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,608,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Parallel to Paradise : Addiction and Other Love Stories Paperback – 2013
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
I married George, not in the Catholic Church, but in the Muir Redwoods. It was very early in the morning and I wore a veil of fog held in place with a single gardenia. ...the bathtub is filled with wallpaper paste, which does not taste quite as good as the horse-based glue I ate in kindergarten... The voice in the dark. A flash of teeth. Yes, you can fall in love with teeth. "No killing, no stealing, no lying, no sex outside of morality, no drinking, no drugs. Say it with me, ten times. These are the rules. Easy, easy rules."
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The common thread running through each story line is how the protagonists deal with the problems and complications of their lives, which are sometimes messy and not-so-nice. But, cope they must. We are introduced to people with addictions (Needle and Thread), some in abusive relationships, alternative lifestyles (Red Eye), and in another, a young mother copes with a miscarriage. What I appreciate about Ms. Newman's style of writing is that none of these issues are exploited or gratuitous; they are simple, and forthright, without being melodramatic, or artificial.
Laura's stories are set in Northern and Southern Nevada, Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa, and California. I thought some of the stories could be expanded to novel length. One such is Graveyard, a coming of age drama set in Iowa. It resonated with me and I wanted it to be longer. Another standout story is about a World War Two veteran (Silver) who looks back on his life as a pilot during the war. Through his eyes we are introduced to his best friend from childhood and war buddy, the people of his town, and his future wife. Another favorite is Burning Man. Set in the Black Rock Desert, it centers on the famous Burning Man event. Although I've never been to this event, and really have no desire to do so, I liked getting a private peek at what goes on out there in the Nevada desert. The last story in the collection is my least favorite in writing style (Alabaster Circle). Told in the first person by a 90-year-old mid-Westerner, the woman’s dialect distracts from an otherwise fascinating tale, which could be expanded to novel length as well. Alabaster Circle held my attention. I found it to be in-depth, insightful, and honest.
There were some copy editing issues in my edition, but I believe those have been worked out in subsequent printings. There is some present/past tense switching back and forth without reason, and minor misspellings. Overall, Laura's writing shines.
Laura’s comparisons are fresh, enlightening, and at times lyrical. I look forward to more from this outstanding new author, and recommend PARALLEL TO PARADISE to anyone looking for a unique and fresh perspective in short stories.
Many of the 14 short stories in Laura Newman’s first book, Parallel to Paradise: Addiction and Other Love Stories (LeRue Press), are set in Nevada and Lake Tahoe, but the good writing is what makes them interesting.
Newman says her stories “are about everyday people who are impacted by events.” Many of them could be memoirs or essays if they weren’t fiction. Some authors would not be able to hold their readers’ interest without strong plots. Newman’s style works, however, because she makes her characters and settings interesting.
Newman is a master at showing, not telling. There’s dry humor–a boy having second thoughts about shooting a bird “considers becoming a vegetarian until his mother serves the Christmas turkey”—and near poetry—a miscarried baby “faded to nothing but a christening gown in a sealed silk pillowcase.”
The only writing I don’t like is in the last story, “Alabaster Circle,” which is told by a woman born in Wisconsin in 1890. Her dialect seems to come and go, which is distracting.
A couple of things made me stumble as I read the book. First, most of the stories switch back and forth between present and past tense without any logic that I can see. Second, there are misspellings. Another editing pass would have been beneficial.
Nonetheless, the writing rises above the editing issues. I’m looking forward to future work by Laura Newman.