Sample Saturday – a firebug, short stories, and love letters


Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye.

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball

Why I have it: No idea.

Summary: Lucia makes friends by lighting fires.

I’m thinking: Maybe (although the sample was stupidly short…).

The China Factory by Mary Costello

Why I have it: Recommended when I did my Irish misery porn post.

Summary: Short stories about love, misery and the suburbs.

I’m thinking: Yes. Costello’s restraint with words is beautiful.

“I smiled when I passed the other girls those first days, and longed to speak, but feared that words would betray the yearning for friendship that I felt inside.”

Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos

Why I have it: No idea.

Summary: Holocaust survivor Miklós is shipped from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp to Sweden. While being treated for tuberculosis, he writes 117 letters to 117 Hungarian girls, with the aim of eventually choosing a wife from among them.

I’m thinking: Maybe (again, a very short sample, hardly enough to get a feel for the writing).

9 responses

  1. Kate…because of Costello’s “restraint with words”, reading her slender novel, “Academy Street”, or the short stories of “The China Factory”, is not so much an investment in time, but of emotion. She slaps you in the face with beautiful, succinct prose; her work is the personification of Irish Misery Porn, your own globally championed literary genre (ha!).

    This is from my own Goodreads review of the book: The China Factory “isn’t a soft read…it isn’t sanguine…it’s not trying to make you laugh, make you feel better about yourself…but, this dearth of positivity doesn’t discount the excellence of the prose, the verisimilitude of her story-lines.”

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