Friday, October 19, 2012

Tribute Books Presents "War Stories" by Elizabeth Doyle Review

War Stories Book Summary:
We all carry our own battle scars. 

This is the premise of War Stories, a rich collection of short fiction that draws upon both the literal and figurative meaning of its title.  Through a diverse array of characters, settings, and circumstances, War Stories delivers a series of powerful tales from the home front of war: the stories of parents, siblings, and spouses of those who have fought, as well as those who have returned from battle.

Set against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts, War Stories’ compelling nine narratives tell of a wounded veteran who seeks renewal through an imagined relationship with a neighborhood girl, a grieving father who finds peace and reconciliation at the site of a disastrous bus crash, a young woman who searches for identity and meaning in the wake of her husband’s injury, and an urban teenager engaged in a fateful standoff with local recruiters. Interspersed with these tales are powerful, non-traditional “war stories” – of youth, unexpected loss, and heartbreaking love.

War Stories’ thoughtful and beautifully crafted tales, which range in style from deceptively simple to rich and complex, tell of people young and old, male and female, who share two things: humanity and resilience. These diverse and deftly written stories are joined through Elisabeth Doyle’s remarkable style and ease in creating a universe full of despair, hope, and dreams. At turns tender and harsh, tragic and yearning, these stories will leave you wanting more.

Buy the book.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I began this book, I honestly figured it would be a pretty easy read--after all, it is a book of short stories.  And, yes, you can sit down and  read it in a very short period of time.  But what you may not be prepared for is the raw stories that all surround the Vietnam War era.  I think this is a time that still haunts us.  I know that there has been some healing that has occurred from that time period, but I know that those who served our country in Vietnam saw horrors that we still probably don't fully understand.

As I read these stories, there was something about the writing style that was a little "dry" (for lack of a better term).  I couldn't put my finger on it, but it was not the kind of writing style to which I normally gravitate.  When I read that the author's writing style was reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway, everything made sense!  Yes, that is exactly what the writing style is like, and that explains why I was not a fan.  You see, even though I know Hemingway was a gifted author, I never cared for his writing style, and it was all I could do to read the required Hemingway stories each year in high school.  It is uncanny how similar his and Doyle's styles are, but I will say hers is much more pleasant than his.

Be warned that there is profanity, drugs, and alcohol.  There are some gruesome scenes as well, and those stick with me even now.  Sometimes having a writing style like this is exactly what is needed to convey messages about war and violence.  There were times I shuddered at the descriptions and was horrified at the stories.  And just so you know, not all stories are happy endings.  In fact, most stories are unfinished.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

Elisabeth Doyle's Bio: 
Elisabeth Doyle is a writer and attorney living in Washington, D.C. She studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the University at Albany, and is completing a Masters of Laws Degree at Georgetown University Law Center.  Ms. Doyle’s short fiction was published in the literary journal Nadirand was awarded the University at Albany’s Lovenheim Prize for best short fiction. Her first short film, Hard Hearted One, was admitted into the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Street Films Film Festival, and was shown on Public Television and Manhattan Cable. War Stories is her first collection of short fiction.

Elisabeth Doyle's Web Site:
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War Stories
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Price: $14.95
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781937928407
Pages: 119
Release: August 7, 2012

1 comment:

  1. Ruth, thanks for taking the time to read and review Elisabeth's collection of short stories.


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