“We are, all of us, sudden travelers in the world, blind, passing each other, reaching out, missing, sometimes taking hold.”
Reviewing a collection of short stories isn’t an easy task. With a few exceptions, short story collections tend to feel like they need to be read over a longer time than it takes to read a book. For example, read one story, take a break and go read something else. Then come back to another story after that breather.
And in a collection such as this slim volume by Sarah Hall, a lot of breaks are needed, as the stories take on such varied settings, some weird and otherworldly and a bit experimental, some more rooted in the every day. Is that why the title is such? That as we read the stories, we are, too, “sudden travelers”, having to switch our perspectives completely?
For these stories are set in Turkish forests, Cumbrian villages, some that seem more like dreamscapes with weird transformations.
There is no doubt that Hall is a great writer. The stories are full of beautiful writing. For myself, as I am not much of a reader of more experimental turns, I was more drawn to her more ‘real’ stories like Orton and, especially the penultimate story, Sudden Traveler. And her writing pulled me in deep to those stories, tears falling, even, for one of them.
So while I stumbled during a couple of stories, unsure of where these pieces were leading me, the end result was worth it.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and
publisher Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book.
Check out the rest of the tour stops here