Sunday, November 02, 2008

Swimming With Strangers by Kirsten Sundberg Lundstrum


Swimming With Strangers -- This Life She's Chosen, Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum's acclaimed debut story collection hailed as "haunting and inspired" by The Boston Globe introduced readers to her penetrating and delicate voice. In eight new stories, Lunstrum further explores the nuances and complexities of women's relationships with their lovers, friends, and families in a new collection. Authentic, probing, and graceful, Swimming With Strangers reveals the currents hidden beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary events.

I love short stories and thought I'd gotten used to the fact that sometimes they just fade to an ending without anything concrete happening to end the story. Maybe I've had enough of that because I was really hoping for something to happen at the ending of each of these instead of them just ending. Maybe I need a break from short stories?

So because of that I guess this collection was just ok for me. Some of the stories did stand out for me more than others including: Dangerous Women, about a college student that works for her professor at his house; Baby Love, about two young cousins that are picked on by their older siblings, and Islands, which is about two couples staying next door to each other while on vacation over the holidays. In a lot of these stories things almost happen but then don't. That definitely got frustrating after awhile.

I do appreciate going into these worlds and meeting these characters but because of the vague endings I felt like I didn't know them as much as I could have. I guess they were literally snapshots of life, and exciting things don't always happen in life.

Do you find with short stories, that they sometimes just don't have an ending?

2.5/5 Stars
ARC provided by publisher


  1. Yes, I do find that often times short stories really don't have an end. That's why I'm not crazy about them.

  2. Honestly, I avoid short stories. They always leave me with that feeling.

  3. There was a year where I all I read were short story anthologies. And I loved them. But I have noticed that when you pick up a collection by one author, there are a lot which seem kind of pointless. So stick to the anthologies maybe.

  4. I usually love short stories but I hate it when it just ends with no warning or reason for that matter. What's almost worse is when the ending doesn't make sense because the author was in such a rush to end.

  5. bermudaonion- I've been finding that more and more and it's making me sad!

    J. Kaye- I guess i need to be more picky about who's short stories i'm reading.

    Lenore- I think that's great advice! Luckily I have tons of anthologies waiting to be read! I got one of those Flash Fiction anthologies a few weeks ago too!

    ladytink_534- I hate ending that make no sense, it makes the whole story pointless!

  6. I'm not a big fan of short stories. I'm always looking out for good short story collections, hoping to find some that I like. Vague endings sometimes work, but usually they leave me frustrated!

    Btw, I see you've got your copy of Bible Illuminated. I'm really looking forward to your review!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  7. I haven't read this collection but I do like short stories. I'm the opposite of Lenore, though--I look for an authors whose short stories work for me and then read ALL of them. Anthologies are hit or miss for me.

  8. anna- They are hit and miss it's really hard to know what is good!

    I posted my review last night :)

    ali- What's your favorite collection of short stories? I'm always looking for suggestions!

  9. Try A Kind of Flying by Ron Carlson. More about it towards the bottom of this post.

  10. I'd suggest checking out Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood. All of the stories are about the same woman in different periods of her life. Some are from first-person and others from third-person, and I thought it was a lovely collection and a great way to do the novel-in-stories concept.

  11. ali- Thanks for the suggestion!

    rjsbooklady- Oh wow, that does sound interesting, thanks! I think you said you would be reading Swimming with Strangers sometimes soon? Looking forward to what you think!


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