Many short story collections these days come in something of a random format, the stories a montage of writing experiments, tenses, and tones, as the writer tries to unfold and develop a voice. Not so with this one. Fairchild Hawks has developed a voice - one that's edgy, humorous, slightly dystopian at times, and taking on all forms of family and relationship dramas.
These stories' arrangement is somewhat against the grain, too, compared with the here-there-and-everywhere, throw-it-together-and-publish-it attitude toward publishing such collections. Most editors, agents, and publishers will tell you that short story collections are something like literary afterthoughts. Again, not so with this one. It's well thought out, from "By The Water," in which a young woman and man drift apart ideologically and then romantically, to the title story, in which a marriage becomes a jaded lie.
Fairchild Hawks is a writer who has apparently spent her time learning to write before rushing into print, and it shows in this first published collection. You'll see more and more of her in print, I suspect, and you'll be reading an important new literary voice as she reveals more and more of her talent.
In this excellent collection of stories, Lyn Fairchild Hawks tackles touchy, sensitive, and divisive issues with unflinching honesty - racism, sex, class, religion. Her startlingly razor-sharp prose takes us into the lives of her unforgettable characters with clarity and specificity, enabling us to experience the sometimes unpleasant, sometimes painful truth as they see it. Many of these characters are people we would never encounter, but Lyn's brilliant imagination has opened the door to their lives and their secrets. Having met these characters, we gain a better understanding of what it is to be human. We feel the conflicting emotions these characters experience as they come to grips with the pivotal moments and decisions that will define their futures. Speaking of futures, Lyn Fairchild Hawks has a bright one ahead of her, as this first collection of stories proves.
"The Flat and Weightless Tang Filled Future" was the first e-book I read cover to cover (Can one say that with an e-book?). What makes these stories so engaging for me is how they reveal the complexity of "doing good". All the adults in these stories strive to be good caretakers for young people, to very mixed results. A bewildered single dad agonizes over how to control and protect his three sons while on vacation. A black mother must fight to protect her daughter's reputation at an elite all-white school, a place that may be doing her more harm than good. A single mother blindly follows a political ideology without realizing she's put her daughter in the care of a monster. The darker stories here take my breath away like Flannery O'Connor's southern gothic tales. In all these stories, Lyn Fairchild Hawks helps the reader see, hear, and feel the South with its fascinating mixture of people, religion, and politics.
This is a fantastic collection of short stories that takes the reader through many adventurous twists and turns. In true short story style this book covers a wide array of emotional and thought provoking stories while the author maintains a particular writing style that remains insightful and humorous.
Lyn Fairchild Hawks is edgy in her approach to subject matter (particularly young adult), unapologetic, fresh, and versatile in her approach. These stories broach subject matter which is often swept under the rug and left untouched by most writers but Hawks braves ahead giving us new and insightful topics for the issues of our generation. The stories themselves come off as a light read but with a deeper, underlying meaning.
I enjoyed reading these stories and many of the characters have stuck with me over the weeks. I'm excited to read the next novel and to see more of what is to come from this new author!
Delighted to find a short story connection with a range of characters from different walks of life but still a cohesive collection and vivid voice that changes from story to story but somehow has the same wisdom, sense of humor, a little bit of mouthy attitude and a lot of heart. For those people who have worked in schools or just remember their own school days, "Midrift" and "Serendipity" will be particularly evocative reads. Good short stories like these are like tasting a special appetizer that has so much flavor you are as satisfied as if you'd had a whole meal. A real treat!
I enjoyed the stories in this collection. Most of the stories involve people in various types of relationships. The characters are interesting, a little odd at times, yet they experience many of the same situations and feelings that we all face. I found myself commiserating with them or sometimes flinching when a character's angry outburst seemed a little too familiar. The author made me feel as if I were there with the characters, and they stayed with me after I finished the book. I am looking forward to more work by Lyn Fairchild Hawks.
I just started this book, but I was so impressed by the first chapter at how real the characters seemed. It was amazing what character development the author could accomplish in one short story, plus it was the perfect length because I can only stay awake for so long before my eyes close at night. I can't wait to read more tonight! The story about the Dad and his three sons was so heart breaking too, well done!! (mother of two, so time to read is limited)
Lyn Fairchild Hawks has amazed me with this smart, edgy, heady collection of shorts. I am NOT a lover of shorts, nor of literary fiction, but I caught myself wanting to read one more, then one more. She captures personality...just snares it and hammers it down...so genuine. So authentic. A marvelous debut from a talent that's sure to soar high and far. The stories stuck with me, and I do not say that often.
Lyn Fairchild Hawks creates such vivid images and characters, such specific dialogue. I felt like I was in that kitchen in The Flat and Weightless Tang-Filled Future! For anyone who loves language and how real people talk. Hawks does not shy from going to ugly places in our relationships with each other. A brave, interesting, visceral writer to keep an eye on!
I absolutely loved the collection of stories in this book. Through her beautifully descriptive writing, the author evokes feeling and place. She also understands the human experience in a deep and meaningful way so each story is relatable on so many levels. After I finished the stories, I just wanted more!