Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway: “Appearances and Other Short Stories” by Margo Krasne

Appearances-and-other-storiesAppearances and Other Short Stories Margo Krasne
Published: October 23, 2012
ISBN-10: 1600477917
Genre: Short Stories
Source: Virtual Author Book Tours
Recommended for readers who would like a longer story line told through short stories

Summary (from the back of the book):
In this debut collection, Krasne wields insightful irony and cathartic black humor to illuminate her themes of loss, yearning and survival, bringing to it a biting female perspective.

An adept stylist with an ear for dialogue and an eye for personal foibles, Krasne cleverly captures the distinct voices of her characters as they strive to negotiate the subtle and not-so-subtle minefields of family obligation and personal conflict.  She has a knack for getting inside her characters’ heads as they strive to keep up appearances.  Readers will most surely recognize themselves, their friends and family members in all of these beautifully rendered stories.

My thoughts:
Every time I read a short story collection, my review starts the same way: I’m not a fan of short stories, but I like this collection.  Appearances falls into the same category.  Maybe I should just admit that I like short story collections.

There are 2 distinct parts to this collection.  The first half is a series of stories of Alice, a young girl growing into an adult in a dysfunctional family.  I quite liked this part of the book.  While I can’t say that I personally had much in common with Alice (thankfully), the dynamics in her family are very familiar to those I’ve seen on other branches of my family tree.  Because of this, these stories rang very true when I read them and Alice captured—and held onto—my imagination.

The second half of the book consists of 3 unrelated stories, all dealing with women in their middle-aged years and going through different conflicts in their lives.  While each story was entertaining, I didn’t find them as fulfilling as the Alice stories.  However, this may not indicate anything other than I just had nothing in my own life (yet) that I found reflected in these stories.

Krasne is a talented writer and I was surprised that this was her first collection.  I found her prose to be concise and polished—not something you always find in a debut publication.  I do hope that she continues to publish her work as I would love to read more from her.

This review is part of a blog tour by Virtual Author Book Tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.

Thanks to Virtual Author Book Tours, I am offering a copy of Appearances to one of my readers.  Just fill out he Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway runs until midnight (Pacific time) on Sunday, March 17th and is open only to readers in the United States.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for this giveaway. A novel that I enjoyed greatly was The Time in Between by Maria Duenas. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed the book collection so much. I loved it! I find short story a true art that is more difficult than a novel. I believe Krasne is an artist of the short story.