Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sunstroke and Other Stories

I can’t remember what I read about Tessa Hadley’s collection of short fiction, Sunstroke and Other Stories, that inspired me to check out a copy. And after reading the collection, I still have no idea.

Hadley is a fine writer and carefully crafts her short stories, which take place in Britain, often in the 1960s and 70s. I enjoyed her writing, but her perspective on life was overall much bleaker than I subscribe to and enjoy.

The stories take an unromanticized look at life, love, relationships, and family. For example, many characters appear to unblinkingly engage in extra-marital affairs as if it is a natural, and not altogether pleasant, part of life. Other characters keep painful secrets from their loved ones. Even the characters who lose themselves in fantasies seem unsatisfied by their imaginations. Reading the stories, it was easy to feel pessimistic about life and the possibility of happiness.