Review: Sweet Land Stories by EL Doctorow

Review: Sweet Land Stories by E.L. Doctorow

Fascinating, disturbing stories.

Murder, baby-stealing, serial remarriages, cult life and the dark side of politics. Plain writing, complete narratives, tight pacing.

Yeah, this is literature.

Until recently, I didn’t like short stories. The stuff we were sentenced to read in school didn’t compare to stuff like this. Back then, in my lit books, I was more interested in essays, plays and novel excerpts. The best short story I remember was “The Gift of the Magi”, and it was nowhere near as good as some of his other stuff. Oh–wait–I loved Saki’s “The Swartz-Metterklume Method” — but still, the goodness of the short story was lost on me.

This is quickly turning into an essay, not a review. I’m gonna let it go there.

Since I’ve been reading short stories lately, I’m gonna direct you to the dark and occasionally disturbed Wheelhouse Magazine (if you wanna read stuff that makes you a little uncomfortable). It’s totally free, and the current issue will up until July, methinks. I hopped over there the other day and found that Charlie Anders had a story up there (”Tea Before Couple’s Therapy”), which was cool, ’cause a few weeks ago I’d listened to her Bat Segundo interview (with Annalee Newitz, on their book She’s Such a Geek). The stories over at Wheelhouse don’t run too long — maybe 10-20 minute reads max — and I swear I’m not promoting it just ’cause my story’s gonna be in the next issue. Promise!

That got off topic. But if you don’t mind being weirded out and having your nerves a little fried with suspense, you’re gonna like Sweet Land Stories.

Some have happy endings, though, I promise.