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Still Life With Plums Is A Vibrant Collection Of Short Stories That Weaves Together The Outwardly Distant Lives Of Several Strangers With Heaping Doses Of Dark Humor And Magical Realism, These Ten Stories Enliven A Cast Of Characters Carefully Speckled Throughout The Southern Portion Of The United States From West Virginians, To Texans And Latinos, Still Life With Plums Circles The Paths Of A Black Irish West Virginian, A Wise Cracking Dog Groomer, An Emasculated Husband, A Guatemalan Widow, A Japanese Latin American Poster Child From WWII, And A Meticulous Predator Marie Manilla S Accessible Prose Is Deceptively Layered, As She Births And Wrestles This Quirky Ensemble That Unflinchingly Probes The Human Psyche, While Affirming A Concrete Connection To A Shared Place And Identity


10 thoughts on “Still Life With Plums

  1. says:

    Still Life With Plums is a collection of short stories wherein Ms Manilla shatters a couple of commonly held, preconceived notions I am fairly knowledgeable in the literary world I know the lingo A short story is like a novel, it has a beginning, middle, and an end, like a novel does it is just..shorter I treasure short story and essay collections for those times when there is but a small, stingy window of opportunity to read Particularly, I love that I can enjoy just a little bit, then move on to That Which Must Be Done without a longing look at a partially finished novel, quietly beckoning me back.Not so, in this case First, Ms Manilla s collection of short stories is equivalent to a bag of Lays potato chips..I can t be the only person that remembers the Betcha can t eat just ONE commercials Despite the fact that the stories are completely stand alone, I could not read just one story at a time Instead, my vegetable soup boiled over, clothes wrinkled in the dryer, and at one point, I am pretty sure I let the shower warm up for about a half an hour, because I Could not Stop Reading Each tale is totally different from what I ve come to expect in a short story These yarns don t have a nice beginning, identifying a goal with a tidy, closure type ending Rather, the reader is treated to a glimpse into a story well under way For example the very first story, Hand Me Down, captures but a moment, in the day of the life, of a family as they pile into the station wagon with paneling to retrieve a relative from the train station In 18 pages, I was moved beyond belief I was in that car, sharing an identical background with this family, I was invested and immediately empathetic Sadness and rage battled inside of me as I turned the pages, knowing that no matter how the story ended, I knew how the lives of the car riders would end up How does Ms Manilla do this I do not know.Every single story in this collection is just as engrossing The main character, Lucky Baby, from Crystal City, is so remarkably crafted that I simply can t get her out of my mind The woman that came from less than nothing made no move to have such a fabulous life, she lucked into it.well, sort of Actually, her willful determination to hear only the positive allowed her to create her warm, fuzzy place in her world She manages to become so set in her resolve, that everyone around her compulsively feeds this image I find this devastating, and I can t stop the internal battle of wanting to seek this fictional person out for a giant hug, or a well earned shoulder shake That part doesn t matter My point is, than two weeks and four books later, Still Life continues to haunt me.Treat yourself and or a friend, with this captivating, fascinating collection of stories I promise that you will be glad you did This review was written for Buried Under Books Blog.


  2. says:

    Short story collections like poetry collections are full of stand alone pieces that can enchant and haunt you Sometimes it s one single image or one event that captures your imagination In STILL LIFE WITH PLUMS, Manilla takes you from West Virginia to Texas and beyond as you travel with her and merge into the intricate lives of her vibrant and dark characters The Wife You Wanted plays on your emotions as the narrator bravely confronts her past head on when she goes to a funeral home and talks to her deceased ex boyfriend, Tommy, reliving their memories, hopes and dreams Another story, Distillation, once again quickly moves you into the dramatic life of a couple who are in the painful throes of a divorce From a aluminum foil swan, an electrical tower, a lost dog, and a treasured fossil, the details will mesmerize you, will make you wish that somehow you could fix everything, make this unmendable relationship work again.


  3. says:

    Wonderful gritty collection Well developed characters Fascinating stories with interesting twists Highly recommend.


  4. says:

    I was loaned this book by the niece of the author When I finally finished it, I sat back and thought, Wow That was really well writtenand a little depressing Still Life with Plums came as a shock to my system since I purposely seek literature and films to provide happy endings to a stressful life This book is true life instead of the fantasy.The collection of short stories reminds me of Flannery O Connor s A Good Man is Hard to Find The characters are well developed to the point that I felt like they were people I pass on the street or smile at in the grocery aisle Their sketches are full, round, and bittersweet I was drawn into their stories, wishing for their wishes, wanting to know what happens But Manilla gives you just enough to yearn without saturating you with syrupy endings.


  5. says:

    This was a nice little collection of short stories They kept me very much interested during the read, however after finishing the book only one or two of the stories actually stood out to me I can t say I disliked it, nor say anything negative about her skill as a writer, but for me it was forgettable.


  6. says:

    In this book, we meet each character at a crux, a devastating realisation Well written and dark, this book portrays a deep understanding of humanity, but a profound lack of hope in it.


  7. says:

    Intriguing group of stories that made me laugh, gave me both shivers and chills, and kept me reading until I was through them all Stories I will remember and come back to I m sure.


  8. says:

    The wife you wantedis one of the best shortbstories I ve ever read Sadly I couldn t connect with any of the others