Summary: College student Greta endures a shattered attempt at sophistication through wine class; teen surfer Kai struggles to find meaning as he copes with his father’s death; Andy, a wanna-be corporate climber, fumbles his image makeover before he even makes it into the office. Through a series of haiku-like vignettes, One Short Year takes you to the lives of 10 characters coping with a variety of poignant, sometimes funny, situations. (via http://www.dianedunning.com/)
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I read One Short Year in one short sitting. I’ve been challenging myself to expand my reading horizons lately so I scoured through the internet and found this short story collection in smashwords.com. I’m glad this book has put that challenge off to a great start.
According to the author, One Short Year is actually a selection of posts from a previous blog of hers — ones which have generated the most reader interest. I found that noteworthy. I have a couple of stories here and there in this lil’ ol’ blog right here and — oops. I’m supposed to be writing a review, aren’t I?
Dunning’s collection reminded me of O. Henry. There were surprising “twists” at the end of certain stories (I liked the one about Andrew/Andy) but there were ones that I had to go back to just so that I could understand what really went on. Her prose wasn’t too wordy and I liked how she introduced sections with descriptions of the different seasons in that short year — fall, winter, spring, and summer. These really set the scene for the series of stories that followed.
My personal favourites would have to be Love, Mark (one of the longer and more emotional ones), Cellphone Conversation (one of the shorter ones), and A Career in Politics (the Andy story — one of the more humorous ones). Love, Mark was told from a young girl’s point of view. There was a lot of sibling rivalry, a big surprise at the end — it was rather heartbreaking, actually. Cellphone Conversation was a witty breaking-up exchange — who breaks up through phone anyway? A Career in Politics, meanwhile, was just something that made me laugh aloud. Go, Andrew!
I’m not really one to give ratings. If it makes it to my blog, it is because I believe it’s very read-worthy.
Read more about Diane Dunning here.
Did you enjoy this review? I plan to read more books this year – classics, bestsellers, and ones by independent self-publishers to mix it all up. Expect more posts under this category. I still believe in the profound effect that books — fiction and nonfiction — have on us, even in this tech-savy, fast-paced, internet-loving, film-consuming world. Here’s to more book reading!