Monday 22 May 2017

The Pier Falls and Other Stories

Finished May 22
The Pier Falls and Other Stories by Mark Haddon

This collection of nine stories takes the reader to many places.
The title story tells in slow motion of the collapse of a pier at an English seaside resort, from the beginnings of the final structural failure to the cleanup months later. We see the victims and the emotions.
The Island, the second story, is one of a fairytale world, a story by a naive young woman of a fantasy that turns into a nightmare.
Bunny, the third story is set in a house on a London estate where two misfits in society connect with each other in a meaningful way.
Wodwo, the fourth story, is of a family consisting of an older couple, the three children, the children's spouses, and two of the grandchildren, coming together for Christmas where they get an unexpected visitor, whose presence precipitates a crisis that has lasting effects. It follows one of the children through the next year.
The Gun tells the story of a man looking back on an incident from his childhood that was a turning point for him, as he is at another turning point in his life.
The Woodpecker and the Wolf takes us to science fiction where we are on a small colony experiencing the emotions, physical effects, and behavioural changes that her and her companions undergo when they are so far from earth and trying to deal with unexpected problems that arise.
Breathe is another story of family, one where a woman returns to her childhood home after years away, finding that things are not as she expected, and trying to make things right, but learning that the person who needs help is not who she thinks it is.
The Boys Who Left Home to Learn Fear tells of a team of men travelling through jungle to try to determine what happened to a previous team of men who haven't returned as expected.
The Weir is the story of a lonely man, recently separated from his wife who finds himself risking his life to try to save someone unexpectedly and then finding that nothing turns out as he expected.
All of these stories have strong emotions, things said and things unsaid. Not all of them have satisfying conclusions, but they all make you stop and consider.

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