Monday, 25 June 2012

Contemplations: An Anthology of Short Fiction & Poetry

When I got Contemplations I didn’t have any before hand presumption – yes I knew it was a collection of poetry and short fiction but I didn’t know anything beyond that and well I’m not going to reveal any spoilers to all those reading this review because reading without knowing is really a great experience!

L.M. Stull doesn’t shy way from emotion and isn’t afraid to show the darkness that exists in everyday life. Don’t get the impression that this is a pessimistic book because it isn’t – it just reflects those daily struggles that nobody talks about. Stull does talk about those struggles– and this is a truly great thing to see because let’s face it even if those things aren’t talked about those it doesn’t make them any less true or less of a reality and it definitely doesn’t make them any better. Rather we face the reality than ignore it and be un-aware of it.

There were moments when I wanted to cry and moments when I was on the edge of my seat. In ‘A Second Chance’ the tense situation really was on an edge of a knife, things could have gone either away, but it was like walking on a rope to discovere whether there is a resolution or everything crashes in pieces. It’s about that the significance of time and the discovery of ones emotions but also what to do with those emotions as well as how to express them. This isn’t simply a story about a situations and it’s resolution – its much more complex than that its about the people involved, the discovery of what one wants and the journey. The characters made a lasting impression on me and I thought about them after I had finished reading. Another thing is that that there is a moral to the story – not the kind of moral of what is right or wrong but the moral of teaching the reader and making them aware.

I absolutely loved ‘The Bus’ I thought that the contrast of characters was fantastic – I really was attached to the characters and I emphasised with them as well as the situations they were in. There wasn’t a trace of something that I would call hyper-reality. Characterization was just amazing and the characters have real heart. There was such raw intense emotion here my tears where on the brink. There was no cliché ending here and this was also the case with the rest of the short fiction.

The poems are like a small breath of an emotion and we connect it. There is no soppy emotion here and that’s a great thing to see. There is a real essence of emotion/feeling and also realness – it doesn’t present false situations/scenarios but things that we have all experienced at one point in our lives. Stull presents these in a simple way even though they are very complex emotions and by saying simple I don’t mean that they aren’t emotional or powerful just expressed in a very linear straight away. I would love to see some of the short story themes in a poem – it would be interesting to see how Stull would present such themes in a poetic form.

Stull doesn’t judge – she just shows us reality and although there is grimness in the reality she doesn’t make us lose hope in humanity or in life. Even though there may not be happy endings always that’s life and that’s what Stull wants to present us – life isn’t one of those TV comedies. She still manages to present hope and tenderness at the same time. Stull makes us treasure plus value what we have because some people have never known happiness and simply aren’t destined to either.

You potential readers out there I highly recommend Stull work, she isn’t a writer to be overlooked and you are really missing out if you don’t read this collection – the stories will leave you wanting more and wondering about the characters lives. Get the book for yourself and also discover yourself along the way. You wouldn’t be disappointed at all! The price is a mere nothing compared to what an enjoyable experience it is reading this collection. 

I’m now a fan of Stull and will want to get more of her work.

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