TITLE: This Cake is for the Party
AUTHOR: Sarah Selecky
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Thomas Allen Publishers/2010
GENRE: Short Stories
SOURCE: Local Library
Goodreads / Author's Website
My streak of bad luck book wise is over! I have found a book that if I didn't love it, I definitely LIKED it! Short stories normally aren't my thing, but this collection was just so beautifully written. I don't even know if I can pinpoint what I liked so much about it. As I was reading I just kind of let the stories wash over me.
Selecky's writing is captivating and short stories were really the perfect form for all of these stories. The stories worked to varying degrees, but as a collection they were wonderful. Each story was a sort of rumination on loneliness and human frailty; there was this lonely feel throughout the book that I found intriguing. The stories just show the reader a glimpse into the lives of these characters. We only get to see a weekend or a day or a few flashbacks. These are personal moments. Real moments. These are just days where one little thing; one small decision, whether it's to babysit a friend's son or look for your missing cat can have a major impact.
Most of the stories are narrated from a first person perspective which I often find annoying, but in this case it worked. I think half of the beauty I found in the writing stemmed from the fact that these felt like personal lamentations. There was devastation and heartbreak which felt all the more touching because it was written in the first person.
I love that each story is revealed to us through moments and fragments. Like the plate on the cover, each story is shattered, but remains somehow recognizable and charming. The details are rich and the imagery is brilliant throughout the stories. I really need to start writing down quotes that I like because there are some gorgeous ones in this book, but just take my word for it. They exist.
I think my favourite part of this book is how all the really pertinent details remain unsaid. It's left to the reader to interpret the story behind the story. The heartbreak lies in those moments where the protagonist can't even tell the truth to him or herself or doesn't see it. It's honest in that way. Honest, poetic, heartbreaking; it's a collection that deserves to be read.