Cover Image: How Strange a Season

How Strange a Season

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Member Reviews

A gem of a collection of short stories.Women are revealed bin all their emotions.An author who writes lyrically who draws you in to the lives of her characters.An author I will be recommending and following.#netgalley #scribner
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What a perfect collection! 

Bergman's stories are classic, full of introspection and insight and honesty. Most are concerned with women, at some juncture of significance in their life, typically pertaining in some way to their knotted relationship to men, be it their fathers or husbands or exes. Bergman is a master at navigating the fine-tuned emotions of her characters. But many stories are deeply tethered to the landscape, and wildlife, as well. From the flowers and peaches to the tender inclusion of a mule early on. It's an excellent collection, linked by these concerns.
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Bergman is a very talented short story teller, and this collection is further proof. Consistent quality writing. The focus here is women. Recommended.

I really appreciate the free ARC for review!!
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A fascinating collection of short stories and a novella with a common thread of introspective women in pivotal moments and/or dealing with ennui. Beautiful and thoughtful writing, if perhaps a bit uneven in that a couple of the stories felt rushed after a promising build up. I was most fond of “Wife Days” and “The Heirloom”. Each story had a vividly described location and it made me long to travel. Megan Mayhew Bergman is a talent and I recommend this to anyone seeking a moody, intellectual read featuring complex women..

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this ARC.
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How Strange a Season by Megan Mayhew Bergman is a series of short stories that blend together to wrap the reader in a sense of time-travel to a faded Southern United States.   Recalling glory times of the Antebellum South in a voice that both mocks and appreciates the complicated past.   Some of the shorter stories left me wanting to ask questions and others felt just enough.  A definite read for anyone that enjoys prose that doesn't veer into the lyrical.
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Book Review: How Strange a Season
Author: Megan Mayhew Bergman
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Review Date: September 29, 2021

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“An evocative and engrossing collection of new stories and a novella about women experiencing life’s challenges and beauty from the award-winning writer Megan Mayhew Bergman.

A recently separated woman fills a huge terrarium with endangered flowers to establish a small world only she can control in an attempt to heal her broken heart. A competitive swimmer negotiates over which days she will fulfill her wifely duties, and which days she will keep for herself. A peach farmer wonders if her orchard will survive a drought. And generations of a family in South Carolina struggle with fidelity and their cruel past, some clinging to old ways and others painfully carving new paths.

In these haunting stories, Megan Mayhew Bergman portrays women who wrestle with problematic inheritances: a modern glass house on a treacherous California cliff, a water-starved ranch, and an abandoned plantation on a river near Charleston. Bergman’s provocative prose asks the questions: what are we leaving behind for our descendants to hold, and what price will they pay for our mistakes?”
——
I know it’s quite awhile until publication of this book, but I am a big fan of Megan Mayhew Bergman, and didn’t want to wait.

Once again, the author has produced a book of extraordinary short stories. Every aspect of the book is perfection. The complex characters and their relationships. The underlying story of how we humans interact with the natural world, mostly to great detriment. The detailed descriptions of place. I highly, highly recommend this collection of one of our best writers, and am in awe of the beauty of these stories.

Thank you to Scribner for giving me early access to this book, and best of luck to the author with her continued literary career.

This review will be posted on NetGalley and Goodreads.

#netgalley #howstrangeaseason #meganmayhewbergman #scribner #shortstories
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HOW STRANGE A SEASON is a hugely enjoyable collection highly recommended for fans of short stories and literary fiction. 

Bergman's narratives are sharp and witty, replete with intelligent and sensitive observations about the world around us. Realistic in nature, the stories deftly delve into different time periods and introduce us to strong women who are finding their way. Threads of climate change and grappling with surprising or unwelcome inheritances are woven through the stories, as well as the theme of personal responsibility.  I particularly enjoyed the feminist angle and Bergman's treatment of power and the re-balancing thereof.

There is humor here as well. I was surprised that, at times, I laughed out loud.  I read "Wife Days" while on a writing retreat and ended up reading portions of it aloud to the group. 

Bergman does a great job of making sure the stories are varied in subject matter and tone. Even though several stories involve absent mothers, you don't feel as though you are reading the same story merely packaged in a slightly different way. Each story stands alone and comes across as fully fleshed out. 

Bergman's writing is crisp and sophisticated. I will look forward to her next book.
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I've been anticipating this book since 2016 when I learned Bergman was working on a novel. That excitement only grew after reading her first short story collection last fall and loving it. And while How Strange a Season wasn't entirely what I'd hoped for, it was great getting back into reading Bergman and seeing how her writing's changed in the last decade.

Some stories were stand-out, like "The Heirloom" and "Workhorse," while others didn't have as much momentum as I thought they could have. Most also felt tonally and thematically the same. Indigo Run took a little getting into but had so much potential, and I loved the writing of it, the complexities of the characters—I just think it would have been more successful as a full-fledged novel.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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