Thursday, January 21, 2010

book ends book list: Mrs. Somebody Somebody

4. Lately, I've been in a funk in my novel-writing. My novel is set in the 1930s, 40s and 50s for the most part, and I've been having trouble getting the voice just right. Luckily, my professor Scott Blackwood recommended this lovely collection of stories by Mrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy Winn. I think that if I hadn't just finished this great book, I would have enjoyed Mrs. Somebody Somebody a lot more--but it ended up being just a bit overshadowed for me. I really enjoyed several of Winn's stories, especially the first and the last in the collection, both of which contain Stella, the great main character of the novel, in my opinion. After the vibrancy of Strout's characters in Olive Kitteridge, some of the characters in Winn's stories fell a bit flat for me. However, I think that spending 180 pages in a small town in the mid-twentieth century has helped to give me more inspiration for my own work. If my work could be half as gritty as Winn's and a third as lovely as Strout's, I would be satisfied.

L. Stacks

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