Slightly Peculiar Love Stories, Rosa Mira ebooks, RRP $10.00US, ISBN 9780986469428, Available now.
We all know how love stories work. It’s a tale as old as time and just about every love story follows the same broad formula: the couple meets; some obstacle comes between them and/or drives them apart but in the end, love prevails. Slightly Peculiar Love Stories plays with and subverts that idea.
Slightly Peculiar Love Stories ties the once-upon-a-time through happily-ever-after narrative arc in knots. Instead, characters love, lose, fail to love, love too much or in odd ways.
Slightly Peculiar Love Stories packs in 28 stories – a lovely size for a collection. The authors are drawn from New Zealand, and around the world. A couple of the stories had that noticeably “translated” feel to the writing, but I enjoyed the added texture that gave the stories (internet book reviewers are a funny lot like that). Having said that, there were some local picks mixed in as well. Chips of Stars by Coral Atkinson was an absolute standout in the collection for me, even though (because?) I read it late at night and it made me despair of ever loving anyone ever again. I also enjoyed the sweetness of Said Sheree by Tim Jones just as much as when I first stumbled across it in Transported. I reviewed Transported when I was a just a baby book reviewer writing for Craccum magazine and the story, like me, has improved with age.
I read Slightly Peculiar Love Stories as an ebook (which means you can read it right now! Go! Go! Instant download!) on my Kobo. I think my poor Kobo is slightly broken because I have filled it with all the Project Gutenberg books the wee thing could hold and now I’m having trouble getting the font and display size to change. (If anyone would like to buy me a new ebook reader to review, I will be waiting patiently by the letterbox.) Assuming the display issues are a hardware issue on my end, I found the ebook experience as pleasant as always. Slightly Peculiar Love Stories was delightfully formatted, with a quote from each story prefacing it. I thought this was a nice touch, as it made it a lot easier to find the specific story one’s looking for even on a clunky ereader like my silly little first-generation Kobo.
But what of love, then? Not every story has a happy ending – the ones that didn’t were the ones which stuck in my mind. Like I said above, a few of the stories made me despair of true love in that special way that literature does, more so than personal experience ever has. And others made me delight in the trueness and joy of love. Most of the stories made me delight in the human condition – both what was described in the stories and that which drove me to keep reading through the inevitable, occasional, slightly-less-than-perfect story you find in any collection.
All in all, Slightly Peculiar Love Stories does what it says on the box. They’re love stories, which are slightly peculiar.