I have not really read any published short stories, and when I came across Donna’s Double-take Tales the title intrigued me enough to check it out. I have to now say that I was missing out on an important part of written fiction by ignoring short stories. After reading Donna’s three shorts, I’ve realized that these are really different than the full-length novels or even the shorter novellas. The space available to each story does not grant the author too much time to develop characters, or a back story. But a good short story can overcome these restrictions and make us care for what happens in the story as well as the characters.
This is what Donna is able to achieve with each of her stories in this book. The book consists of three unrelated stories each of which is tied off with a common theme. That theme is the double-take which the stories require from the readers. We start off believing something about the stories or the characters and by the end, those beliefs are turned on their heads and we are left with the thought, “What just happened? Did I read the conclusion right?” I had to in fact go back and read the stories a second time to see how the new conclusion affected the stories. This makes the book extremely enjoyable as we get to read almost completely different takes on the stories a second time. I have to commend the author at being able to achieve this. I was definitely not able to think up the conclusion of the stories, and the double-take was an amazing way for each of the stories to end.
The first story of the book follows the journey of an everyday object which travels from person to person. The author is able to bring each of the persons who are touched by the object to life for the very brief moment when the object is with them. Their hopes and aspirations, dreams and troubles are all laid bare. I always thought that this was not possible with the few words the author uses, I stand corrected and enlightened.
The second story revolves around a married housewife who seems stuck in a boring, even loveless marriage. The story of her plan to get out of this situation and the actual facts of how this happens are magnificently crafted. I could imagine her plight and her pain, but could not really come to grips with her actions. The ending left me in two minds, where I did not really like her, but was amazed at the turn of events for her. As usual, I had to go back and read the story again to truly appreciate the craft of the author.
The third story is a doozy. It is about a murder investigation being followed by someone who is closely linked to the event. The detached yet expectant way in which the person follows the investigation was brilliantly described. The ending of this story left me confused at first. But I was shocked when it actually sank in. Wow! This is all I can say.
If you want to read three terrifically crafted short stories which will make you keep coming back, get this book! My only complaint is that I wanted to read more stories by the author but had to be satisfied with JUST three. I really hope that she gets her next book out sooner. I just can’t wait too long.