Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fun With Problems by Robert Stone

This is a short collection of seven stories written by Robert Stone. I heard about this collection on NPR I think, but I had never heard of the author before.

The main characters in each of Stone's stories seem to deal with the same issues - dissatisfaction with their life in some way, shape or form that they deal with by consuming massive amounts of alcohol. Some consume so much alcohol that they are literally and figuratively drowning in it (there are at least two drownings/near drownings in this collection). 

When I first started reading, I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to get through the entire collection.  While some of the stories drew me in immediately, some of them did not. I lost interest in some of the characters easily, perhaps because all of the main characters were male and their struggles were not like mine, not because they were male but simply because I didn't have their issues and couldn't relate to their issues. But I kept on and when I ask myself why, I figured out why.  Stone is an exquisite author who manages, somehow, to dig to the root of his character's problems and present them in such a raw manner that you can't help but continue. It's almost like you can't look away, no matter how hard you try to. He's a good writer in that his word choice is so pleasurable but his plots also made it difficult to plow through his stories or even to savor them. He needs to work a little bit on plot at least as it relates to his short story work.

Generally, decent.

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