Belong to me: stories
Her novels, Out After Dark and Fall, have already established Kai Maristed as an original voice, one of "clarity and terseness, a muscular language" (Los Angeles Times Book Review on Fall). Now, with this splendid collection of nine stories, she displays her mastery of the shorter form. Horses are not a hobby but an obsession for some people, and these memorable fictions go to the heart of that relationship. Many of the characters here are intimately connected to the world of horses, caring for and riding and learning from them. Ultimately such individuals turn out to be outsiders in the sense that every one of us is: They insist on their own lives, lives that often lead them away from love or the law or common sense. The book opens with a chilling narrative of a young woman's abduction and long-term captivity--perhaps the most disturbing since John Fowles's novel The Collector. Maristed manages even the most disturbing subjects with a sympathetic eye, ear, and heart. Her character's inner lives and the "real-world" events surrounding them are always written in perfect balance, and she captures the lives of people who are down on their luck, or riding high, without a hint of condescension. The community in which horses are the bond, drawing together disparate women and men, is fictional territory that she has made her own, in the process bringing it into the larger world.
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Belong to me: storiesUser Review - Book Verdict
These nine short stories share the leitmotif of horses, but each takes a stark and unique jump into a different world where humans fail as domesticated animals. Maristed has enjoyed the publication of two novels, Fall (LJ 5/1/96) and Out After Dark (LJ 9/1/93), but this collection demonstrates her authority as a creative writer. Here she brings to her characters and settings a clarity and palpableness that are astonishing given the diversity of tales she has to tell: a kidnapped and ravaged teenaged girl recounts her years of abuse; a teenaged boy pokes at his discomfort with the horse dentist like a guy continually prodding his own sore tooth; a polo star falls into domestic anonymity with his would-be assassin; a man is fired from his father's law firm and turns to building a corral instead of telling his wife. These tales serve to supply sophisticated readers with the kind of brief fiction that seems both more powerful and more graceful than mere human effort could supply. Recommended for public library collections and to creative writing students in search of breathtaking models of the craft.--Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA