I enjoyed Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border, so I was looking forward to reading her Sudden Traveler for my James Tait Black project. I sometimes have an uneasy relationship with short stories, though.
This thin book is a collection of seven stories. Some of them are slices of life, but others are more fantastic.
In “M,” a woman who was raped as a child transforms into a powerful creature that disposes of men who prey on the helpless.
In “The Woman the Book Read,” a man spots a woman he knew as a little girl on the beach in Turkey. He remembers how much he cared for her when he was engaged to her mother.
In “The Grotesques,” Dilly witnesses the humiliation of a local drunk.
“Who Pays” is quite mystical. Set in the Middle East, it is about village women who figure out a way to circumvent another war.
In “Orton,” a woman decides to disable her pacemaker in the town of her childhood.
“Sudden Traveler” is about a young mother burying her own mother.
I found some of the stories perplexing and “Live That You May Live” is one of them. It’s about a mother telling a terrifying story to her little girl.