The Ways We Get By by Joe Dornich. What. A. Treat.
The only short stories I’ve ever read before were by Stephen King, and to be honest, they’re probably more novella territory. I think collections of shorts, like this one, are more of an American thing because I don’t recall any apart from compendiums from many different authors here. I mean, there probably are, but they’ve never hit my bookdar.
I haven’t read all of the short stories in this book yet because I’ve decided I want to savour them one at a time. I gobbled up three in one sitting, but I want to save the rest for special occasions.
The man whose colleague works in the Christian theme park who meets an actor who is so driven to get into character (the character being Jesus) that he turns to healing the sick, the girl whose part time cleaning job takes a frightening – electrifying – you might say turn, and the man who has to face his own death after a career of making corpses (not actual ones, but still) – all of these characters are going to live rent free in my head forever. I’ll always be wondering what they did next (well, except the last one. I know what he did). Few longer works have ever done that to me.
Just these three have made me realise how incredible a short story can be. I love novels, but these give me that same sense of satisfaction – wonderful writing, deftly drawn character, pathos, a full plot. I don’t think I can recommend them highly enough really – I assumed I didn’t like shorts because I’ve only ever read them in weekly magazines, when they’re usually borderline erotic or just plain drivel. This has made me want to seek out more literary shorts. I’ll certainly read anything else Joe ever writes. LOVE.