It’s actually going to be quite difficult to review Anthropology, a book of 101 short stories, each just a page long and all about love in its various aspects and all narrated in the first person.
The stories are arranged in alphabetical order, so we move from Anthropology (where he explains how he lost his anthropologist girlfriend to the culture she was studying) to Words (about what keeps a marriage together). Some of them are very funny, some of them rather sad, but they are all little gems.
This was another read-a-thon book, and again I read it in one sitting. Looking back I wonder if that was entirely wise and whether some of the stories lost their impact because I read the book like a novel. It made me wonder what the best way to read short stories actually is.
I remember listening to Simon Mayo’s book review podcast ages and ages ago when he was interviewing (I think) Anne Enright and the subject of how to read stories came up. The two approaches discussed were reading one, savouring it and closing the book, as opposed to doing what I’ve just done. Someone compared it to how you might eat a box of chocolates, and I suppose I just have to confess that I handle both the same way – once that box is opened I very rarely have the self-control to just have one chocolate….
I’m going to look for some more Dan Rhodes as I really admired his style, and as a bonus they all seem (like this one) to have a fabulous David Roberts cover illustration.