Monday, September 1, 2008

Down to a Sunless Sea

Mathias B. Freese
WheatMark Fiction, 2007
Reviewed by Heather F.

From the cover:

Down to a Sunless Sea plunges the reader into uncomfortable situations and into the minds of troubled characters. Each selection is a different reading experience — poetic, journalistic, nostalgic, wryly humorous, and even macabre. An award-winning essayist and historical novelist, Mathias B. Freese brings the weight of his twenty-five years as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist into play as he demonstrates a vivid understanding of — and compassion toward — the deviant and damaged.

I’ve been a long time reviewing this, because I am just not quite sure what to say. I found this very short book of short stories to be slow, and very hard, reading. I am not normally a short story reader. I enjoy some short story writers; Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munroe, Joe Hill, Flanner O’Connor is a favorite, Eudora Welty, Alice Walker…to name a few. I usually find most short stories to be too short, stagnant and, well, boring. I expect Freese pulls it off admirably, but I just didn’t enjoy it much. The stories were just too depressing and I’m not in a place in my life when I should read such heavy material.

All in all, it wasn’t for me, but I think many who appreciate short stories such as these would appreciate this collection. I hope you’ll give it a try.

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