Last week was a good week for me because I received two extremely favourable reviews for my e-book Ordinary Domestic: collected short stories.
All the big emotions come to me when I think about how I felt when I clicked on the link to read the review in Northwords Now magazine (issue 21, Summer 2012). Trepidation, anxiety, fear of failure, fear of ridicule. No wonder my body no longer produces the stress hormone Cortisol any more. I've used it all up in fretting over the years!
So, it was a great relief to me, more than anything, to read Alison Napier's generous and considerate write-up on my fiction. Here's part of what she said -
'Ordinary Domestic is a collection of short stories and this book made me deeply happy. Not because the stories were joyful and uplifting (though a few of them were) but because they made me think and feel, wince and shudder, even on one occasion, cry. Carol McKay’s skill is in the compassion she conveys for her characters regardless of their flaws or the chaos of their lives. ...
Her stories are unpredictable. They are naked and brave, rich and troubling. She writes about the awkward topics (disability, adoption, incest, sexual violence) with such deceptive ease that it is our own discomfort and prejudices that we bump up against, not those of the author’s. Never assume you know what will ‘happen’. Often little does. But that little will be a beautifully judged, finely tuned, deeply perceptive piece of perfection and you will be glad that you lived those minutes of your life reading these words.'
Could I ask for a kinder review than that? You can read Alison's full review in the Northwords Now website here.
This review was followed only two days later by an equally generous review on the Amazon site by David Manderson, a writer with a gift for creating flawed characters who are sublimely human. Here's what David said about Ordinary Domestic -
'The title, like everything else in this collection, is dangerously deceptive and deeply ironic. 'Ordinary' and 'domestic' these stories may be, but they are laced with dark emotions and deep, hidden desires. They also never fail to surprise.
The author talks in the voices of the marginalized, the robbed, beaten and raped, the dispossessed. That she finds humanity not just in them but also in their persecutors is a measure of the power of her quiet, lethal understatement.'
Could I ask for a better review? What pleases me most about this one is that David has expressed exactly what it is I try my best to do in my fiction.
David Manderson is the author of Lost Bodies - a novel well worth reading.