Reviewed by Sara Crowley
are indeed fifteen
modern tales of attraction in which MacLeod relates stories of love,
electricity, hearts, and death. Here is an author unafraid to push at
the shape of what a story can be, what it can say.
of the stories
are surreal and startling, the characters revealing unusual
desires. It is because of the author’s skill that we accept
strange urges: Nineteen-year-old Naomi wants to have sex with a dead
man in Sacred
heart, and she is utterly believable. Gloria
craves both electric shock therapy and the doctor who administers it
in Live Wire.
knowledge of penises and describes them thus: "…primitive
forms: single-celled creatures who live, blind and unpigmented, in
the pools of caves, sluggishly longing for transformation." She is
very aware of the effect that she has on all males, including her
friend's young son.
tongue is playful and wordy, E-Love: Heloise and Abelard offers
up email exchanges between the lovers. It is excellent to see
such experimentation with form, and yet it leads to a slightly choppy
feel to the collection. Personally I found two stand-out
to be two of the most conventionally told. They were written with
such brilliant illumination, and were both extraordinarily moving. The
first is So
that the land was darkened, where we witness a
six years, glimpsed in three parts that reveal everything to make this
living, breathing, love affair. I won’t say more for fear of
ruining it for you, but I found it powerful and resonant.
explores a relationship in two parts, one where both characters are
full of life and lust, and the other, a couple of years later, with
one of them dying as they make a last attempt at a traditional smutty
weekend break in Brighton. Even when dealing with such subjects
MacLeod never resorts to sentimentality or saccharine.
and don’t be
put off by the cover, it doesn’t do justice to the
provocative work within!
Crowley has had stories
and reviews published at Pulp. Net. She was recently short-listed for
the Not Yet Published Award, and is working on her novel and the many
short stories that float into her head.
date: Sept 2007
author of two published novels
bio: Alison MacLeod moved
from her native Canada to England in 1987 to take up a
place on Lancaster University’s MA in Creative Writing. Her
novel was The Changeling,
her second The Wave
Theory of Angels. She
teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at University College
Chichester and lives in Brighton.
with Alison MacLeod
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