Stone Baby

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

Challenging, often invigorating short stories from a writer I’m previously unaware of. Enjoyed the deftness of her sentence structures, the wild energy barely suppressed in her prose. Some pieces felt more accessible than others, but overall, a promising new talent.
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Up until recently, I avoided short story collections.... because? There really was no concrete reason for it. "Because I wanted to emotionally invest in just one story and not have to do so over and over again", or something like that. 

Past me was a fool! "Stone Baby" and Jennifer Caloyeras' "Unruly Creatures" made me see the light!

This is a SUPERB short story collection, I loved it from cover to cover. I couldn't get enough of it, I had to postpone reading it at times to make it last longer. It may technically be a short story collection, but all the stories are connected, very "small world"-esque, and VERY cool. I almost considered the connections Easter Eggs, and I delighted in identifying them.

Every story is technically and narratively perfect, Michelle Saks is a wonderful writer. All her characters were believable and interesting, and I especially loved that most of the setting was Africa because... well... it's not a place that I know much of, and it's not usually the backdrop of stories. I loved reading about it.

If I had to choose, I'd say my favourite story was "Tell Me Something No One Else Knows". Goddamn, that was powerful.

I will definitely be reading more of Michelle Sacks' work in the future, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!
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This debut collection of stories is a very good read.

based on characters who are all different it is a fascinating read.

Books such as this are a godsend when you read a lot of long fiction reads, as they are easy to read and pick and put down.

All the stories are brilliantly written and original. I loved the European and African settings and all the stories are quite unforgettable.
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"Stone Baby "(the title of one of the stories) finds both the accepted and the marginalized facing varied situations challenging their secrets and personal character. These raw and emotional stories take place from Ireland to India to South Africa and beyond with protagonists from multiple generations. Many seemingly insignificant characters in one story play an important role in another.

It is difficult to create complex characters with sufficient backstory and satisfying conclusions in the short story format, but South African born author Michelle Sacks not only succeeds but excels with this.

The gritty and unforgiving Stone Baby is one of the best collections of short stories that I have read. 

The complete review has been posted on UnderratedReads
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Stone Baby stories
Author: Michelle Sacks
Publisher: TriQuarterly Books
Publish date: December 15, 2017


As a debut novel by Michelle Sacks, this collection of 12 Stories scans the world. We first read the story of Kingdom, a man fleeing from war in Africa who becomes a hired mercenary. Each story has a main character and a few minor characters. Those minor characters tend to turn into the main character in the next story or somewhere down the line in other stories intersecting with other characters lives.  

It took me many stories to finally decide I liked the stories over all. It was a little too grungy for my tastes. Too many violent scenes and language for me, however the stories themselves were creative, thought-provoking and definitely something different than anything else I’ve read. Each character is fleeing from something and gaining an understanding of a trait they needed to learn. I appreciated the personal development and/or lack of personal development each main character experiences in each of the 12 stories. I think my favorite story of the collection was the title’s own story- Stone Baby. It was emotionally distraught, soul searching and happy all at the same time. You will live through so many emotions reading these stories.

Ms. Sacks does a good job of visualization, character development and care-ability (or making you interested in the stories themselves) throughout the collection.

If you love to read dark, deep, developmental stories this book is for you. I gave the book a 3 out of 5 because I said, it was just a little too dark for me.
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I thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Sacks' Stony Baby.  These stories stand alone but are connected by minor characters in one becoming major characters in another.  Place and circumstances begin to emerge that also bring continuity to the stories.  Each character lives, or dies, with a sense of realness.  I could see the self-assured Kingdom in the first story being connected to the young girl looking for him in the last.  Michelle Sacks is a storyteller at heart.  There are no formulas followed as is so prevalent in American Literature today.  No following the success of another writer.  Michelle Sacks stands alone with each story. 

The art known as the short story, handled by someone who tells stories, is a pleasure to read.  Every word has a meaning and a reason for being included.  Writing without the constraints of a short format a full length novel has no such boundaries. Umberto Eco in "The Name of the Rose" used two pages to describe a door.  A wonderful picture but you could not afford this luxury in any of "Stone Baby" stories.  Compact, precise, honed to a razor's sharpness.

I look forward to more by Michelle Sacks.

My thanks to the publisher, Michelle Sacks, and NetGalley for the privilege of being able to offer my opinion in exchange for my copy.
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Stunning collection of short stories that intersect in each other culminating in a complete circle by books end. Beautifully written with unforgettable characters. Michelle Sacks is incredibly talented and basically can write like few I've read this past year. She is able to have the reader believe she knows each of the people in her stories intimately and has me believing I know them as well, empathetic to each of them, delighting in their journeys and walking with them over Europe and Africa. 

There are few books that come along that reading a brief synopsis has you wanting more...immediately! Special thanks to Northwestern University Press and NetGalley for this spectacular opportunity to have an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.
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Awesome collection of short stories about interesting character scattered across the globe. Loved this debut, looking forward to reading more,
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This was a completely random selection, something attracted me to this collection, I didn't fight the attraction and what a pleasant surprise this turned out to be. Actually pleasant surprise doesn't quite cover it, this stories are terrific and each has one is an emotional powerhouse. Tangentially connected with recurring characters, scenery and themes these tales of love, grief and survival are guaranteed to affect even the most stoic of readers. I enjoy plot driven fiction, so for me the best short stories are essentially novels with less words, traditional narrative form of three (or however many it takes) acts with arcs and resolutions as oppose to something that reads more like a character sketch of a brief glimpse into a fictional life. And so for me this collection was perfect, each one a complete story, original and memorable. Each one exceptionally well written in that the author creates an utterly believable utterly credible authenticity in her characters and situations that are very easy to engage with even for a less emotionally available audience. Stone Baby is the name of one of the stories and a soul of two, representing the strangeness, mystery and beauty of the world around us. In fact, a perfectly apt title for a collection of stories that are sure to leave the readers meditating on those very ideas. Immensely enjoyable book. Enthusiastically recommended. Thanks to Netgalley.
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Short stories are tough, they require a real economy of words to convey both character and story.  There are recurring characters that weave in and out throughout the collection.

This is a very talented author- some of the quotes really stopped me: 'I took my heart in my hands and....." is just example of the unexpected gems throughout the stories.
The descriptions of the heat, the smells, the misery, the betrayal, hopelessness and redemption are powerful. Some of the stuff that goes on is hard to read, painful, and some of the little bits of daylight at dawn give lots of hope.
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