Title: The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories
Author: Catherine Brady
Release Date: February 28, 2009
Publisher: University of Nevada Press
Genre: Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction
Review: TLC Book Tours
Rating: 4 out of 5
From the publisher’s website:
The stories in this collection explore those moments when the seemingly fixed coordinates of our lives abruptly give way – when mother love fractures, a faithful husband abandons his family, a conscientious middle-class life implodes, or loyalty demands an excruciating sacrifice. The characters share a fundamental predicament, the struggle to name and embrace some faith that can break their fall. In equal measure, they hunger for and resist this elusive possibility and what it demands of them.
The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories deals with a range of circumstances and relationships, and with characters who must decide what they are willing to risk for the sake of transformation, or for the right to refuse it. The stories trace the effort to traverse the boundaries between one state and another/–between conviction and self-doubt, recklessness and despair, resignation and rebellion. And each story propels the reader to imagine what will happen next, to register the unfinished and always precarious quality of every life.
The Mechanics of Falling is a beautifully composed set of short stories bound into this one neat volume. Each story has its own beginning, middle and end; each has its own theme. The stories are not connected to one another in any way except for in the way disparate people connect to one another: they are bound by their common humanity. Each story portrays an aspect of this humanity: fear, love, loyalty, hardship and more. They are all connected by this quality, by the human struggle to embrace faith in something.
The stories in The Mechanics of Falling are very well written. The characters are developed such that they seem to have their own individual lives. The reader can envision them living on long after their respective short stories have ended; they are written with a timeless quality. It’s a testament to Brady’s writing ability that she can so thoroughly develop characters in the brief span of each of these stories.
My favorite story was probably Scissors, Paper, Rock, in which Natalie, an aging woman, seems to slowly be losing her grip on her sanity. The trouble is that the only person who seems to notice is Liz, a woman who Natalie used to work with. I also enjoyed Slender Little Thing, which is the tale of Cerise, a nanny to a rich woman’s children, and her daughter, Sophie.
The Mechanics of Falling is a wonderful collection that I definitely recommend. Even if you don’t enjoy short stories, Brady’s beautiful writing and ability to develop characters and weave a story in a short amount of time will draw you in. Give it a chance – you won’t be disappointed!
If you want to learn more about this book or the author, here is an interview with Catherine Brady at TheRumpus.net. I found this interview fascinating and I really thought it expanded my horizons on the book.