Monday, 23 September 2019

Evangelista's Fan and Other Stories by Rose Tremain

Evangelista's Fan and Other Stories by Rose Tremain
First published in the UK by Sinclair-Stevenson in 1994.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Rose Tremain's teasing and brilliant title story, Evangelista's Fan set in a disturbing dreamlike version of Regency London, a young italian clockmaker contrives a magical means, not only of repairing time, but also of unlocking the mechanism of sexual happiness. This collection demonstrates the enormous range of her talent and imagination. Here is history - Agincourt as seen by the herald who rides between the two camps - alongside such contemporary issues as mortgage debt and medical error. Here are stories set in Cornwall, Corsica, Nashville, Niagara and an unidentified city which conjures up any and every Western European capital. Here are the obstinate dreams of the old and the passionate struggles of the young; here is heartbreak and humour; and here, above all, is love in its many and varied forms.

This collection of eleven short stories by Rose Tremain is absolutely brilliant! Usually I find such collections can be somewhat hit and miss, but I think I can confidently say here that every story is a gem. I loved their dark tinges and mysteries as well as the variety of locations and characters. Tremain completely understands human nature so I felt connected to each of her utterly believable characters, even though I only had a limited time in which to get to know any of them before their story ended and another began.

My favourite stories were the Agincourt one where a Herald riding between the French Dauphin and the English King Henry is reminded of a similar ride, three years before, to see his beloved; The Unoccupied Room where a woman wakes up alone in an apartment which she soon realises is no longer hers; and Niagara where an elderly couple struggle to cope with the husband's increasing anger at the world.I did love all eleven stories so picking just three to highlight was tricky and I'm already wondering whether to change the choices! If you have been disappointed by short stories in the past then Evangelina's Fan and Other Stories will hopefully rekindle your enthusiasm for the genre, and if you're already a fan then this collection is a must read.

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  1. I don't have too many short story collections in my bookshelves but this piqued my interest. Particularly the one about a woman who woke up and her place is no longer hers.

    1. That particular story is so well written. I loved how Tremain leads her readers through it

  2. oh a short stories collections filled with human nature gems! I'm always looking for those! They are hit and miss for me as well!

    1. That's why I am so amazed at these stories! For me, there wasn't a single disappointment