Title :Winter Tales
Writer: Kenneth Steven
Publishing House: Marylebone House
Date of Publication: September 21st 2017
Rating : 5 stars
‘’He sat at his window one Sunday morning, blowing warm breath onto the patterning of ice on the inside of the glass, until he could see the world.”
Winter can be beautiful.Serene, tranquil, a time of contemplation before the awakening of spring and the anticipation of the carefree summertime. Winter can be harsh, though. Bleak and dark, a time when regret, loss and despair, sadness and guilt can be felt more tensely and acutely. These beautiful stories by Kenneth Steven consist one of the best literary examples of this contradictory season.
‘’Cullen Skink” :A moving story about the relationship between a grandfather and his only grandson.
“Elmeness” : A young girl who has suffered a terrible loss tries to find a way out through Art, during the first days of autumn.
“The Skylarks and the Horses” :A young doctor struggling to help a young man suffering from post-traumatic shock. A sad, haunting story taking place in the first days of November.
“Lemon Ice Cream” :The story of an Italian family of immigrants set in New York. A tale in which summer and winter are equally harsh.
“The Song of a Robin” : A story of the First World War told from the side of the enemy.
“The Listener” : A special man leaves Helsinki for a cabin in the woods.
“A Christmas Child” : A heartwarming tale set in a fishing village during mid-November.
“Out” :The musings of a love-struck young man.
“The Gift” : One of the most touching Christmas stories I’ve ever read. A young boy is rescued from a horrible teacher by his father and a search for mistletoe begins. There is a beautiful, meaningful reference to the Wandering Jew myth.
“The Healing” : A tale of faith coming from the beautiful, mystical, haunting land of Russia.
“The Miracle” : The story of a lifelong friendship in Glasgow, amidst the absurd rivalry between Catholics and Protestants. Oddly enough, this is set on Easter Sunday.
“The Ice” : A fellowship of young people decide to spend sometime in the Lakes, in the Christmas House, escaping from divorce, boarding school and the all-around bleakness of their lives.
(image source :https://www.flickr.com/photos/ross_strachan/)
These are tales with images of from Scotland primarily but we also travel to Russia, Ireland, Finland. There are pictures derived from the fishing life and the Scottish Isles, themes that call for contemplation. Despair, loss of faith, deceit, death, pain, guilt, hope. The writing is beautiful, faithful to the issues we find in each story. Short stories aren’t meant to be complete, they’re there to make us think. They’re not supposed to be full of action and explanations, but full of thought. The writing here is poetically dark because the stories demand it to be so. Winter tales aren’t romance novels with happy endings. They’re bound to be bleak and dense. Winter is a time for inner searching, in my opinion. If you wish for a collection of short stories that will stay with you, that will create images of cold winters and even colder families, that will touch your mind and your soul, then give this book a chance….
“He got up, slipped out, glided over the ice towards the Lodge lying in darkness, asleep. He crept inside, found his fiddle case, took the violin and went back out into the very middle of the lake and began playing. And creatures came alive and gathered at the edge of the ice to listen; deer and pine martens with their gorgeous orange tummies, and long-snouted badgers.”
Many thanks to Marylebone House and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.