5.0 out of 5 stars, Artful Short Fiction, September 21, 2008
I'm a glutton. Instead of reading one story in Kate Sutherland's All in Together Girls and then stopping to digest it before reading the next one, I'm reading them straight through, voraciously, without pausing to reflect on what's happened in any particular story. I should slow down, will slow down, and savor each one. They are quite engaging--stories about youth and self-discovery and relationships and all that good stuff. The author writes with an honest, believable voice and doesn't sugarcoat emotions. She's also a law professor. That floors me! I'm reminded of Alexander McCall Smith, the very prolific author of over sixty books--he's also a law professor. (Is there a connection here? How do these two different types of writing--legal and creative--complement each other?)
Published as a collection of short fiction in 2007, All in Together Girls tells fourteen different stories and rapidly draws us into different worlds. Kate Sutherland brings the characters to life for us--children, teenagers, and adults--and we feel the pain and triumph of various human struggles. Short story writing is an extremely creative form of creative writing, which presents unique challenges to writers because of the length of the stories--everyone and everything needs to be "accelerated", in a sense. Kate Sutherland proves she's up to the challenge, and is on a par with women such as Doris Lessing, Alice Munro, and Eudora Welty. The cliché, "good things come in small packages" proves true here; through her short stories she paints memorable portraits of everyday people in All in Together Girls. You can sample two of her stories, Cool and Aerial View of a Dinner Party, on Kate's Book Blog.
(Review from Suko's Notebook, my book blog.)