Saturday, 17 October 2020

The Fish Tank And Other Short Stories by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra

The Fish Tank And Other Short Stories by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra
Self published on the 27th December 2016.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from BooksGo Social via NetGalley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2018 Silver Medal Winner at the Feathered Quill Book Awards
2018 Silver Medal Winner at Readers' Favorite International Book Awards
2018 B.R.A.G. Medallion Winner

"The Fish Tank is at times fun, exhilarating, haunting and intriguing. The author has done an excellent job of capturing the essence of the short story genre in this fantastic collection!" - Feathered Quill Spotlight Review

"The Fish Tank is a gracefully-written, varied collection of entertaining, touching, suspenseful, and thought-provoking short stories. Maria Elena skillfully paints rich scenes and crafts interesting characters. Her prose is vivid and distinct. 
You will not want to miss this collection!" - NY Literary Magazine

Delve into For the Fun of Writing, where flights of fancy are given voice in “Jerry’s Gift” and “Rites of Passage.” Glide into Soul Songs, stories from the Cuban Diaspora where the author weaves many of her own exile experiences in “The Fish Tank” (award winner), “Bubbles Don’t Bring Smiles,” “Lullaby,” and “A Day in the Life of Benito José Fuentes.” Take a peek at Prologues, two prequel short stories that introduce characters in upcoming novels. Twists and turns run rampant in “Into the Light,” and “Mirror, Mirror: A Detective Nick Larson Story.” Finally, enjoy, The End, a short short of whimsy in “Everyone’s a Critic.”

The Fish Tank and Other Short Stories is an impressive introduction to Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra's writing. It's rare I can equally highly appreciate every story in a short story collection - usually there's at least one or two which don't work so well for me - but that is absolutely not the case here. In her opening Note To The Reader, Alonso-Sierra states that "With short stories, a writer has to gut punch the reader immediately ... Characters must be real from the first words spoken. Conflict must be intense, almost at the climax point, and the resolution finished sometimes subtly, sometimes shockingly, and sometimes not necessarily as a happily ever after." Strong words, I thought, and then was delighted to discover that, story after story, Alonso-Sierra takes her own advice seriously, delivering brilliantly on every point. 

My favourite stories are both from the Soul Songs quartet in which we get inside views of life with Castro's Cuba and for emigrant Cubans who have fled their country. I could easily understand why The Fish Tank is an award winner and A Day in the Life of Benito José Fuentes was also a standout tale for me. Alonso-Sierra portrays a much darker reality than, say, Teresa Dovalpage, with the menace from both Castro's police and from American border staff leaping vividly from the page. On a completely different yet equally as scary note, supernatural horror story Into The Light would make a perfect Halloween read. The Fish Tank and Other Short Stories is a concise collection of just nine tales, but it is one that I am very happy to recommend widely. It's well worth a reader's attention especially at its ridiculously low ebook price!

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra / Short stories / Books from Cuba

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