My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"These nine tales owe a debt to tales through the ages. Calling a piece of short fiction a 'tale' removes it at least slightly from the realm of mundane works and days, as it evokes the world of the folk tale, the wonder tale, and the long-ago teller of tales. We may safely assume that all tales are fiction, whereas a 'story' might well be a true story about what we usually agree to call 'real life,' as well as a short story that keeps within the boundaries of social realism. The Ancient Mariner tells a tale. 'Give me a copper coin and I will tell you a golden tale,' the later Robertson Davies was fond of saying." (Acknowledgements, p. 271)The first three tales in this collection are interconnected as they each focus on a person within a single social circle. I love story cycles like that because you get to see things from multiple angles. I don't usually find short stories very satisfying because it feels like as soon as I get to know the characters the story is over. Cycles like this solve that problem. Another of the tales revisits the women in The Robber Bride, which was like visiting old friends. I loved 'The Freeze-Dried Groom," it was super twisty and odd and I loved the way the narrator kept doing CSI assesments on his day.
I am counting this toward the 10th Canadian Book Challenge.