This Cake is For the Party by Sarah Selecky

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This was the short story collection I picked up from the library a few months back, based solely on the title. Unfortunately, I was a bit let down (especially since the title story wasn’t included!) but there were some stories that I’d give 4 stars individually.

Sarah Selecky’s first book takes dead aim at a young generation of men and women who often set out with the best of intentions, only to have plans thwarted or hopes betrayed. These are stories about friendships and relationships confused by unsettling tensions bubbling beneath the surface.   Goodreads

The Goodreads’ blurb actually gives a lot more detail on what these stories are about but since they’re so short, I feel that will spoil too much for readers. There is definitely a common strand among the stories of struggling relationships and lows in life. It’s not an uplifting read as most of the characters are down on their luck and they don’t necessarily get a happy ending. Still, there is something powerful that comes to light for each of them as they attempt to work through their individual difficulties.

My favourites in this collection were Prognosis and Paul Farenbacher’s Yard Sale, ones that seemed to get closest to some kind of resolution for both the reader and the characters within. There were many good stories but they didn’t reach beyond that and so, beyond the two I liked, didn’t leave much of an impression. I felt like the author was trying for something profound but never really got there. Maybe I wasn’t able to pick up on it but each story left me feeling like it stopped just short of making a real statement. The stories always ended with a weird statement on life rather than some deeper understanding that I think the author had actually intended.

I’ve yet to find a short story collection that I can really connect with so maybe these just aren’t for me! If you have any suggestions for really great collections, I’d love to hear them!

Leave them in the comments below or tweet them to @spinesinaline!


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