I’ve been fortunate enough to chat with Katie Boland a number of times over the past couple of years. I’ve never met a more joyous and open soul who seems wise beyond her years. She’s gracious with everyone she meets, and made both Sue and I feel like friends straight from the off.
So, I quite happily sat down to finally read her book, a beautiful collection of short stories.
I was stunned.
Boland has created a cast of characters to populate her stories that feel as if they’ve been lifted from every part of my life. People who we all know, flawed, pained and human. She has done so with a wisdom, awareness and life experience that seems to far exceed her young age. Writing with assuredness and a deft hand, she paints pictures of love, sex and death that we can all relate to and perhaps experienced in the same way.
I found each and every one of the stories completely involving, and they never overstayed their welcome, each one was just the right length, taking you in, introducing you to the characters, and letting you share in their lives for a brief time. And, honestly, there wasn’t a single moment when I thought that these characters were anything other than real people, the stories and the writing are that convincing.
All of them seem to exist on the fringes, struggling with their lives in ways that are immediately recognizable to the reader. They’ve been hurt, bruised, loved, hated, and seem to be adrift in their own world, unsure which way is up, and just trying to get through another day.
A few of the stories stood out for me, the last one about a young woman returning home for her estranged mother’s funeral, a tragic tale of Irish love during the Troubles, and one about the friendship between a young woman and an older man. Boland infuses each of these characters with their own reality, and you constantly get glances of yourself or people you know peeking around the edges of the pages.
Katie has created a brilliant and beautiful collection of stories, and I know I shouldn’t be surprised, having watched her brilliant web series Long Story Short, and chatted with her on numerous occasions but with this group of tales, Katie has left me floored and wowed, and I can’t wait to see what she turns out next, because, to date, this young woman has never disappointed, and has always amazed.
I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!!!
If you haven’t read this one, add it to your reading list and pick up a copy. Then let me know what you think!