Thursday, September 6, 2012

War Stories, Elisabeth Doyle (4.5 stars)

War Stories Book Summary

We all carry our own battle scars.

This is the premise of War Stories, a rich collection of short fiction that draws upon both the literal and figurative meaning of its title. Through a diverse array of characters, settings, and circumstances, War Stories delivers a series of powerful tales from the home front of war: the stories of parents, siblings, and spouses of those who have fought, as well as those who have returned from battle.

Set against the backdrop of contemporary conflicts, War Stories’ compelling nine narratives tell of a wounded veteran who seeks renewal through an imagined relationship with a neighborhood girl, a grieving father who finds peace and reconciliation at the site of a disastrous bus crash, a young woman who searches for identity and meaning in the wake of her husband’s injury, and an urban teenager engaged in a fateful standoff with local recruiters. Interspersed with these tales are powerful, non-traditional “war stories” – of youth, unexpected loss, and heartbreaking love.

War Stories’ thoughtful and beautifully crafted tales, which range in style from deceptively simple to rich and complex, tell of people young and old, male and female, who share two things: humanity and resilience. These diverse and deftly written stories are joined through Elisabeth Doyle’s remarkable style and ease in creating a universe full of despair, hope, and dreams. At turns tender and harsh, tragic and yearning, these stories will leave you wanting more.

Price: $14.95
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781937928407
Pages: 119
Release: August 7, 2012
Buy Link


The first line of the above description says it all: we all carry our own battle scars. If the eyes are windows to the soul, then pain is the window to the heart as so expertly described by Elisabeth Doyle in this series of emotionally intense stories about suffering, loss, fear, and need.

When a character crys out, "How can God love me?", your heart aches for his wounds and pain only to be torn apart again as another character mentions, "I'm not the same." Amazing how so few words can convey such intense pain and suffering.

While each story is compelling in its own right, I found myself most drawn to Recruiters, and the eerieness of the grey car stalking its victims, and the slow build of realization and horror in Passengers.

I don't want to give too much away about the individual stories, because each one deserves to be read and digested by readers from their own perspective. Instead, I'll share a line from Passengers that seemed to describe each character in some way: she had momentarily dreamt that such a moment would come; that it would save her soul from obscurity and bring about the emergence of her true self, and that her life would thereby be made exceptional.

Each soul on display in War Stories is struggling, desperate to make sense of their own battle scars and place in the world. I was amazed how connected I felt to each character within a few short sentences. Although only 119 pages, each story has its own novel-length depth and memorable characters. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Elisabeth Doyle's Bio

Elisabeth Doyle is a writer and attorney living in Washington, D.C. She studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and the University at Albany, and is completing a Masters of Laws Degree at Georgetown University Law Center. Ms. Doyle’s short fiction was published in the literary journal Nadir and was awarded the University at Albany’s Lovenheim Prize for best short fiction. Her first short film, Hard Hearted One, was admitted into the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema and the Street Films Film Festival, and was shown on Public Television and Manhattan Cable. War Stories is her first collection of short fiction.
For more information, please visit the author's website.

This is a blog tour, please visit the War Stories blog tour site for more stops.

Note: I received a complimentary copy from Tribute Books for review purposes. No other compensation was received. A positive review was not guaranteed or requested; the views expressed are my own.

For more information on Tribute Books, please visit their website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.


Tribute Books said...

Tia, I'm so glad that you really enjoyed this one. Thanks for the 4.5 stars :)

Tia Bach said...

There was almost a sense of poetry to the piece. Gorgeous! Thanks again for having me on the tour. I really loved it!

Forgotten Books said...

Great review, I like reading books about Military and war. Will read this one soon.

Tia Bach said...

Thanks for the lovely compliment, Forgotten Books. I think you'll really enjoy this one!