Received a copy of The Weight of a Feather and Other Stories By Judy Croome from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review
This collection of stories brings the readers a lot closer to the hot, sticky, blood thinning, but temperate climate of South Africa. With the multicultural, multilingual, and wide variety of religions found in South Africa, this anthology of stories gives the audience a little taste of the countries eclectic mix. Some stories have a distinguished African feel with varying vocabulary, specific references and mysticism, but others can be related too many people from all walks of life. The many themes found within the pages included: the fleeting moments of life, the acceptance of death, the need for personal awakening, the absurdity of reality, how hope springs eternal, and bringing the rain while bringing the reign. There are so many it is difficult to mention them all, but the entirety of the book is a glimpse of how people choose to live their lives, for constructive or destructive reasons and the consequences that follow.
The one problem I have with short stories is you rarely like them all, making it a bit hard to judge as a whole. Hopefully other readers can relate to my problem and be understanding while I give you my personal thoughts on this collection. The majority of these stories are incredibly descriptive and well written with ties in harmony with the human condition. On the other hand some are incredibly short and observational that make you wonder what you are supposed to take away from this? And what is the reason for including this? It sometimes comes across as arrogance if the readers have to question the reasoning behind its inclusion. For the most part this book was a success.
Let's get to the good stuff. One of my favourites was the title story "Weight of a Feather". It explores how the actions of others can influence the way love is realized later in life and how a simple trigger can ignite that long lost passion. "The Lottery Ticket" is a perfect example of how bad people can't have nice things and that revenge is a dish best served icccccccce cold. "The Gold Miner" was very heart-wrenching and one that I could relate to. It is a story of how a man's family life combats with his private life and how the illusory perceptions of his daughter contradicts that of her father's true nature. "The Rainbow Farm" is a very light-hearted satire filled with magical realism. A story of how a newly established democracy in the North Pole could shake the childhood idolization of Santa as we know it. "Umbrella in the Snow" exhibits how over an extended period of time a protected and confident person can transform to insecure and frail when hit with reality at an inopportune moment of their life."A Dish Best Eaten Cold" is also very interesting and may make a chauvinistic male question his being after a chance encounter. Depending how you interpret this story it may be hilarious or it may make you very angry, you be the judge.
This collection delves way beneath the surface so I would recommend this book to patient people that are not discouraged by cultural references that may have no meaning for you. If you can strive through it you will be greatly rewarded.