Review: Dwell in Possibility (The Marzipan Fruit Basket)
Unlike Eleanor Courtown, this book is a collection of short stories that pull together a range of complex characters in a fairly compact setting. I’m going to include a snippet from the “about the book” information, since this says it much better than I would be able to: “The stories in this collection are unified by a sense of dislocation. In each of the pieces, there is an underlying element of disturbance and disharmony.” That is, perhaps inevitably, a really good way to put it.
As with most short story collections, all of the characters are different, and none of them is connected personally (as far as I can tell). But all of them face localized challenges that they have to deal with — whether successfully or less than successfully — in the course of the story. I wouldn’t call this the happiest group of stories, although not all of them are by definition unhappy, but I would say that they make the sort of impact that good short stories make.
Author Lucy E.M. Black manages to insert a significant amount of characterization and moment into this collection of wide-ranging characters, as well as time periods (some of them modern-day, others earlier in the 20th century). There’s some history to be found, particularly with the woman who has been subjected to the horrifying practice of symphysiotomy, but ultimately these stories are all about the characters themselves and what they’re facing.
As with Eleanor Courtown, I definitely recommend The Marzipan Fruit Basket and particularly for fans of good short stories. It can be read quickly, which is what I did since it was such an interesting read, but I have to admit that the result was a few days of deep pondering as some of the more poignant moments stuck with me. I might have been better off reading one at a time and taking some time in between to consider each in turn. But either way, highly recommended.
I have an extra copy if anyone is interested. Just leave a note in the comments.
Year of publication: 2017
Number of pages: 160