I love novels.
There. I said it.
I love writing novels, and I love reading them.
For me, there is no delight quite as satisfying as immersing myself fully in the brilliant thought-process of one of my favorite authors.
Having made that bold statement, let me go on to say that I also love anthologies.
There is something stunning about a well-woven collection of works, whether it be comprised of poetry or stories, literary or genre. The individual tales actually sparkle, when you turn them in the light and study them closely.
This is certainly true of our own recently published anthology of crime stories, Thirteen, by the Mesdames of Mayhem, (Carrick Publishing) featuring — you guessed it — thirteen of today’s prominent Canadian crime writers.
One thing that strikes me about this book is the attention to detail afforded it by Mesdames of Mayhem founder Madeleine Harris-Callway. From the exceptional cover art (by Sara Carrick, as guided by Madeleine) to the order of stories, (laid out by Madeleine in conjunction with Joan O’Callaghan) the entire finished product is a work of “genre art” that is sure to be appreciated by crime fiction aficionados.
But it is the stories themselves that compel me to read Thirteen. Each one is unique, as unlike the one preceding it as can be. And yet, they are held together by a cohesive theme — crime and its consequences, both intended and unintentional.
What is it about a short story that captures us?
Do we see it as a ‘snippet’ of the writer’s inner self? Are we frustrated that we cannot immediately read more? Or are we intrigued and inspired to find out what we can about each author?
From the earliest fables, to the works of O Henry, we are constantly amazed at the intensity of emotion that can be packed into a few pages. Where a novel attempts to lead the reader on a mind-consuming journey, short stories, at least the best of them, offer the reader a dance…just one spin on the marble floor of imagination.
We hope, though, our readers will enjoy that twirl. We hope, in fact, they will come back to dance with us again.
And that, my friends, is the true beauty of the anthology.
For within each tale lies an invitation…
…Dance with me again.