Diving Belles-Lucy Wood
nationality: UK (Cornwall)
Short Story Collection
"Straying husbands lured into the sea by mermaids can be fetched back, for a fee. Trees can make wishes come true. Houses creak and keep a fretful watch on their inhabitants, straightening shower curtains and worrying about frayed carpets. A mother, who seems alone and lonely, may be rubbing sore muscles or holding the hands of her invisible lover as he touches her neck. Phantom hounds roam the moors and, on a windy beach, a boy and his grandmother beat back despair with an old white door."
I loved these stories to bits and pieces. Wood blurs the line between reality and myth taking many of her cues from Cornish folklore. Lovely and haunting language permeates these stories that manage to be contemporary with a timeless decidedly old style voice. Each story is self contained-the narrator's voice changes and the tones shift to match the mythical beast. Sometimes too much is left to the imagination and occasionally the allegory is heavy handed but nevertheless, wholly recommended.
Ok listen, it's hard to write about books so lovely. The stories are other-worldly but grounded in reality. There's also a great thread of humor such as the nursing home for witches but it's well balanced by mystery and wonder. The descriptions are clear and precise when Wood wants them to be because above all the characters are developed.
There are other reviews who'll take you through the symbolism and allusions of each story out there but I just found most of the stories so lovely I just fell underneath their spells and tried not to let myself over analyze and just suspended belief. Wood's stories lend themselves to that.