Sunday, April 15, 2018

I Bring Sorrow and Other Stories of Transgression: Patricia Abbott

This book contains 25 short stories by Patricia Abbott, for the most part previously published in anthologies. Abbott has published two novels of psychological suspense: Concrete Angel (2015) and Shot in Detroit (2016). Both cover dark and disturbing subject matter. I wondered if this collection of stories would follow suit. To some extent it does, but of course a short story book usually offers a lot of variety and this is no exception.

One of my favorite stories is the first in the book. "On Pacific Beach" is about a daughter whose mother is homeless. She feels incredible guilt for having moved away and left her mother behind and tries hard to stay in touch. The daughter's first person narration of the story is incredibly moving. I knew after reading that story that I was going to be happy with the rest of the book.

There are three unusual stories from different genres. "The Annas" is set in a post-apocalyptic future where fifty women have had 50 android duplicates created, which they will train in their areas of expertise. "I Bring Sorrow to Those Who Love Me" is a beautiful story with a musical theme and elements of a fantasy story. "The Cape" has a historical setting, telling the story of a tailor who makes a cape for Enrico Caruso.

Not all of the stories are totally dark. Some have the element of humor, especially in the ending. "My Social Contracts" is about a woman who sees marriage as a contract that she can use to her advantage. In "Stark Raving," Elsa Scotia mediates a will for a brother and a sister who have inherited from their mother and have only one small area of contention to resolve. Two couples who have known each other for years share a weekend at a summer home in "Old Friends."

Parts of Abbott's first novel Concrete Angel were published first as short stories and they stand alone quite well. “Mad Women” is about a woman who is caught shoplifting. The last story in the book, “Fall Girl,” is about a daughter used by her mother as a patsy for a murder that the mother committed.

As Reed Farrel Coleman tells us on the cover of the paperback edition: "Any one of the stories in I Bring Sorrow is worth the price of admission." And I could not agree more with Ken Bruen's assessment: "Patricia Abbott's collection of stories are just electric and utterly amazing... A dark, captivating collection.”

See also:


Publisher:   Polis Books, March 2018
Length:      250 pages
Format:      Trade paperback
Setting:      Varied
Genre:       Short stories
Source:      I purchased my copy.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Thank you so much. Your opinion means so much to me having read your reviews all these years. I am so glad I did not disappoint you.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed these, Tracy. Patti is such a talented writer, and I really do hope she'll get more of the attention she deserves with this collection.

TracyK said...

All the praise for this book and your stories is deserved, Patti.

TracyK said...

I agree with you, of course, Margot. They are clever, and often moving, stories.

Clothes In Books said...

These sound so good! I am often not a fan of short stories, but you are tempting me...

TracyK said...

I enjoyed the stories very much, Moira. I do hope you try them and like them.

col2910 said...

I have something else by her on the pile, which I ought to try first. I do like the sound of this one though.

TracyK said...

This one is very good, Col. I have one other book of stories, also, Home Invasion. And a couple anthologies with one of her stories. All on the Kindle. I need to get back to using the Kindle for reading more.

Mathew Paust said...

You've captured the spirit and magic of these stories perfectly, Tracy. I don't ordinarily seek out short-story collections, but reading these made me think I should start seeking more of them.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Mathew. Until a few years ago, I avoided short stories and stuck with longer fiction. I am learning to enjoy short stories more and more. And Patti's stories are compelling reads.