The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories – Catherine Brady

Title: The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories
Author: Catherine Brady
ISBN: 9780874177633
Pages: 248
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.

Comments

  1. I haven’t enjoyed short stories in the past, but would like to give them a try again. This sounds like it might be a good collection to start with.

  2. I haven’t enjoyed short stories in the past, but would like to give them a try again. This sounds like it might be a good collection to start with.

  3. YOu would have to add the “even if you don’t enjoy short stories” — I’ll think about giving this one a shot.

  4. YOu would have to add the “even if you don’t enjoy short stories” — I’ll think about giving this one a shot.

  5. Thank you for the review of my book, The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories. Short story writers sometimes have to struggle to find an audience. If I really understood why, I suppose I would write novels. I love stories, and I think the best stories deliver an experience that the reader can recognize as like her own–and then offer up hidden riches if you want to explore them further.–Catherine Brady

  6. Thank you for the review of my book, The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories. Short story writers sometimes have to struggle to find an audience. If I really understood why, I suppose I would write novels. I love stories, and I think the best stories deliver an experience that the reader can recognize as like her own–and then offer up hidden riches if you want to explore them further.–Catherine Brady

  7. Thanks for linking to The Rumpus.

  8. Thanks for linking to The Rumpus.

  9. Wonderful review – I loved this book and will be posting a review for TLC book tours on April 6th (along with a guest post by the author). I definitely think these stories will appeal to all readers – even those who think they don’t like short stories – because they feel very complete and the characters are so well-developed. Glad to see you enjoyed the book (although I kind of thought you would since you and I often agree on books!)

  10. Wonderful review – I loved this book and will be posting a review for TLC book tours on April 6th (along with a guest post by the author). I definitely think these stories will appeal to all readers – even those who think they don’t like short stories – because they feel very complete and the characters are so well-developed. Glad to see you enjoyed the book (although I kind of thought you would since you and I often agree on books!)

  11. I’m also on the tour for this book of short stories. Thanks for another great review.

  12. I’m also on the tour for this book of short stories. Thanks for another great review.

  13. Short stories are usually not my thing but after reading your review…I am going to put The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories onto my TBR list.

  14. Short stories are usually not my thing but after reading your review…I am going to put The Mechanics of Falling & Other Stories onto my TBR list.

  15. I’m glad you liked this one, too. “Slender Little Thing” was one of my favorites as well.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  16. I’m glad you liked this one, too. “Slender Little Thing” was one of my favorites as well.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->