Cover Image: Mothers


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Short stories are beautiful. They are also very hard to write well. You have to encapsulate all the feeling and all the necessary plot in a few pages, rather than in hundreds of them. Writers such as Chris Power use short stories to give a reader a window into a character's life, building moment upon moment to gently drive home a message. It doesn't always work, but in this case, it does. Thanks to Farrar, Strauss & Giroux and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I need to once again start a review with a confession. There was some time between me receiving this collection and me starting it, which means that by the time I began reading the first story I thought this whole collection was about ... you guessed it, mothers. There are a lot of mothers in Mothers, but they aren't about mothers, per se. The collection is grounded by three stories that make up the beginning, middle and end: 'Mother 1: Summer 1976', 'Mother 2: Innsbruck' and 'Mother 3: Eva'. I once again have to confess I wasn't sure they were all related until I saw it confirmed in other reviews. I saw how the stories were connected but didn't trust myself enough to truly make these connections. Perhaps that is the point, however. Not all stories, or novels, are meant to give you a clear moral or a straightforward line of events. In Mothers Power sets out not to explain why we have difficult relationships or why we are unhappy. Rather, his stories shows us how his characters are in these difficult moments, how they are unhappy, each in their own way, and then leaves the reader carrying the stories with them.

In Mothers Chris Power shows the reader a set of characters who are all at a crossroad. They are drifting or stuck, searching without quite realizing it, about to be lost for good. The stories in Mothers aren't uplifting. Some of them are actually very bleak. In 'The Crossing' Ann and Jim are hiking and while the outer landscape is beautiful, something ugly is growing inside. There is a dissatisfaction there, a desire for something, anything, to happen. In 'The Colossus of Rhodes' the something ugly that grows is long overdue after having been repressed. In all the other stories, much like the triptych of Mother stories, are about remembrance and about being alone. 'The Haväng Dolmen' was one of my favourites as it combines the bleakness of the other stories with a terrifying undercurrent of horror. I think the lack of resolution in the stories, either story-wise or emotionally, means that reading Mothers leaves the reader with nowhere to go, nowhere to place the stories and therefore no way to let go off the bleakness.

It took me some time to get used to Chris Power's style in Mothers. Many of the narrators in this collected are very reserved, which means many of the stories are without high emotions. Each of the stories occur at a crossroads, where important and life changing things happen, but those moments seem to pass by, noticed but hardly commented upon. These things simply happen and there is only so much we can do about it. The stories are very calm and therefore may not be for everyone. The internal voices of the narrators are everything, which means that Powers manages to convey the claustrophobic feeling of being stuck in your own brain, of being somehow immobilized. There is some absolutely stunning moments of imagery and true realization in Mothers, which did make it a rewarding read despite occasionally struggling with some of the stories.

Mothers was a very interesting collection of stories, all related in theme and mood, but also vastly different. Many of these stories will fill you with unease, but Powers brings in beauty just often enough to reward perseverance.
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Mothers  is a solid short-story collection debut from Chris Power. Power a skilled writer when it comes to taking on various personalities/perspectives. The characters in the stories felt natural, never forced. The stories in this collection are engrossing, even anxiety-inducing at times, however there was not a standout story. I think this collection will stay with me as a whole, rather than remembering individual pieces.

I received this book free from NetGalley/Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for an honest review.
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Clipped stories about what can unravel us. In each story, a single seemingly inconsequential thread is pulled at until something becomes irrevocably broken in the lives of the characters. It begs the question of what is truly relevant in one's life as well as how and if we are connected to those around us.
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Kind of a weird read. When it was good, it was good, but when it was bad, it was really, really bad. There was a little something missing even from the good stories, some sort of disconnection between me and the writer. I'm really not sure what it was. Granted, the subject matter of isolation, wandering with no destination, and growing uneasiness is uncomfortable by default, but this was too uncomfortable for me, if that makes any sense.

I liked "The Crossing", "The Haväng Dolmen", "Portals", and "Johnny Kingdom" the most. The central "Mother 1-3" stories were honestly kind of dull, and I hated "The Colossus of Rhodes" in particular (no, Chris Power, cats aren't "pests" anywhere in Greece, I don't know what you're on about).

This, in my mind, is going straight to my "Horribly depressive" shelf.
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Not all of the stories in Power's Mothers were memorable. These stories were good, don't get me wrong. They had depth and were beautifully written. The characters were just not as remarkable and engaging as I hoped they would be.

However, there are three stand outs that are worth buying the whole collection for. The stories that revolve around the character Eva are so good that I reread only them as soon as I finished the book. You watch Eva at three different points in her life. If you're not paying attention, you may not realize that all three stories are connected as they appear throughout the book, with multiple stories in between. I would definitely read a whole novel dedicated to that character's development.

Thank you #NetGalley for the ARC of #Mothers.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review in return.

I loved this book. For short stories, the characters were very interesting and well developed. The writing was very refined and the story line just flows. I liked all the stories, but the three with Eva were the most notable for me.
I don't usually like short stories, so I hope for those of you who are not into short stories will give this book a chance.
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Unfortunately, I didn't really engage with the stories in Mothers. They were well written, but they just didn't grab me.
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This collection from Chris Power is a strong collection of outstanding storytelling. Eva - a character in three stories, is the strongest character - but each story cuts to the heart of the reader - ordinary, day to day events that could happen to anyone - but for some reason stand out and create special moments.

This is sure to be on the top of ever best of list of 2019.
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I know people use the word REFRESHING a lot when talking about books, but this really does feel like a long-awaited fresh breath in the literary world of short fiction.


There's so much sincerity and truth in each of these stories, and they're NOT all about mothers necessarily. At first, I'd expected some sort of netmoms split into 2000 word limits, but it's nothing like it.

These stories are adventurous, heartfelt and so SO lovable. They will kick your lack of inspiration or writer's block in the ass. They will make you wanna start your life anew. They will make you realize that you are a part of a hugely interactive, awe-aspiring and pulsating world. And they will make you add Chris Power to your followed authors list.

It's only January, but my literary short story collection shoes are already super huge for another author to fill.

Huge thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories. I found the writing to be captivating and interesting. Each story had characters that were flawed, real and going through different journeys to find themselves or their purpose in life. I thought it was very clever to have the 3 stories that revolved around Eva. (Mother 1, Mother 2 and Mother 3), As I am not normally a short story reader I found I still was invested in each story and the characters.
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Another set of short stories which I LOVED!  I devoured it and it really reminded me of the first sets of short stories I read by Roald Dahl (for adults) with their noir humour.  The characters were all intensely fascinating, disturbing and multilayered.
As with many of these types of book, there were a couple which didn't quite grab me the way the others had, but overall the book is brilliant and I would recommend to any fans of short stories or anyone interested in reading some.
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The short stories in Chris Power’s collection, Mothers, range across the world, from Sweden to Mexico. Though the settings are varied, many of the stories revolve around two themes: betrayal and unacknowledged traumas from the past. None of them are comfortable to read; some are even a bit frustrating. That said, all of them are interesting portraits of characters who don’t know what they want, who can’t have what they want, or who have to deal with characters like the other two types. 

Two of the standouts from this collection, for me, are:

“The Colossus of Rhodes” – This story has more than one trick up its sleeve. At first, it seems as though the narrator is comparing his present vacation to Greece with his wife and child with a trip that he took when he was a child. But then things take a sinister turn when a stranger assaults the narrator-as-a-child. More disturbing incidents follow, only for the narrator to turn the whole tale on its head. He says he has evidence that these things did happen, even if nothing happened quite like he says it did. In the end, we have to wonder what really happened and why the narrator wrestles so much with that long ago trip.

“The Haväng Dolmen” – Readers won’t have much sympathy for the pretentious academic at the beginning of this story, set in the Swedish countryside near a Neolithic dolmen. He is only there because his archaeologist colleagues said the site was worth seeing, even if it’s not the narrator’s period of interest. Once the narrator sets out to see the dolmen, he starts to feel as though someone is following. There’s no one there whenever he turns around. It’s only near the end of the story that we finally learn what’s haunting this brusque, solitary man. 

Mothers also features three connected stories about a Swedish woman named Eva. We meet her as a child, as a young woman, and as a mother (the last through the eyes of her husband). Taken together, the three stories are a long arc of misunderstandings, lies, betrayals, and mental illness. Eva never seems to know what she wants, frustrating everyone around her with her capriciousness. Curiously, it’s only when her husband takes a turn as narrator that we find out why Eva is the way she is. But, like the husband, we have to ask whether or not Eva’s behavior is forgivable. We have to wonder if it’s possible to reconcile the hurt a person causes with understanding that they can’t not hurt people and that they only do it by accident. Perhaps its only possible with the kind of double-think Eva’s husband develops over the years.

Mothers is a challenging read. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that touches the emotional snarls these stories do. While things are resolved (at least somewhat), I still feel unsettled by this book. Readers who like to practice armchair psychiatry will love this collection. Readers with their own unresolved traumas may want to shy away; all of the stories powerfully evoke un-resolvable emotional conflicts that these readers may not want to invite into their brains.
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As with most story collections, about half were interesting. I liked the connected stories and the author's style, but all but 3 stories fell flat for me. 
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Netgalley for the advance review copy.

I admit I'm usually not much of a short story gal, I just find it difficult to really get into stories where the characters are experienced so briefly. With that said, I really enjoyed this collection. Power manages to portray the lives and characters in a way that makes their emotions and personalities immediately identifiable.

As with all collections some of the stories are more engaging than others. To my mind the best were Mother 1, 2 and 3 although I didn't realise until reading the last one that the same character was present in all 3. I also enjoyed The Crossing. There is a real air of melancholy running throughout the stories as well as a feeling of disconnect which many of the characters seem to have from the people and agents around them.

Overall an enjoyable collection of short stories from a clearly talented writer.
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Whilst I really enjoyed Power's writing in Mothers, and felt that many of her characters were realistic - particularly Eva, on whom three stories focus - there were a couple of tales here which did not capture my attention.  Overall, Power tells of ordinary, mundane occurrences, but somehow manages to make them compelling.  I really enjoyed the links to Sweden which many of the stories have, and I know a couple of them are going to stick with me for a long time to come.  As it was rather a mixed collection in terms of my enjoyment levels, I have decided to give this three rather than four stars, but I still very much look forward to what Power releases in the future.
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Gorgeous strange multi layered stories.A debut collection that needs to be read slowly a gem of a collection. Original literary a new author to watch. #netgalley #fsg #mothers
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