This collection of insightful, emotionally intuitive short stories by Grace succeeds in honoring the resilience of women around the world.
The female characters presented in these seven fictional stories hail from a broad range of backgrounds, yet they are united in their struggle against adversity. Their intensely private ordeals explore numerous scenarios, from a young woman’s battle against a degenerative disease to a mother’s attempt to reconnect with her daughter, who has returned from college. From deft character sketches, engaging and psychologically detailed narratives evolve. “A Sharp Mind” charts the physical deterioration of a woman with multiple sclerosis and the reactions of her family. This story in particular emphasizes the individual strength and determination of the remarkable characters found here: “I’m not a victim. I only have MS,” the narrator says. “I remember my quadriplegic uncle, immobile from a car accident. He’d been a world-class athlete. When I’d asked how he could stand being in a wheelchair he’d said, ‘Life is too sweet.’ ” Powerful and life-affirming, the narrative always captures the spirit of survival. “The Presence” is a story about a young girl being sent away to boarding school. Waving goodbye to her sisters, Sydney is bundled into the family’s Aston Martin. The ensuing journey maps the boundaries of trust between a mother and daughter. “The India Affair,” a story about a woman’s journey to Mumbai with a group of doctors, examines an outsider’s understanding of another culture, along with its inequalities and injustices. The author’s descriptive skills peak here, as she offers an evocative street-level view of the city: “There’s a swarm of two-tone, yellow and green rickshaws buzzing about, the drivers perpetually honking and swooping like disturbed bees.” “Leya’s Serengeti,” the story of a mother taking care of a dog her daughter purchased on a whim, further demonstrates the author’s stylistic versatility, as elegant prose is replaced with a more urgent stream-of-consciousness approach to reflect the psychology of emotional pressure. In its entirety, the collection is a delicate and thoughtful exploration of strength in suffering.
Affecting yet inspiring in its positivity.