Has a book ever called to you? When I browse at bookstores, there are far more books that I want, than I can actually buy, so I keep a list on my iPhone of the ones that catch my interest. Lauren Acampora's short story collection, The Wonder Garden, caught my eye at three different bookstores. It just kept popping up, so I finally caved and bought it.
PLOT- In The Wonder Garden, Acampora writes a series of interwoven stories set in the fictional east coast town of Old Cranberry.
LIKE- Acampora is a marvelous storyteller. In The Wonder Garden, she floats between the surface of her characters, and their deep, dark secrets. Reading her stories are like watching a film, in that she has a keen sense of when to zoom in and when to pull back her shots. The pacing is pitch perfect.
Many of Acampora's characters are creepy, unsettling and highly memorable. In particular, there is a wealthy man with a sick wife, who bribes his wife's brain surgeon, to allow him to touch her brain during surgery. Yikes!
The town is filled with historic homes and one couple takes the task of living like they're from the colonial period, clueless as to why their college-aged children don't want to come home for the holidays. They are highly judgmental of their neighbors who do not care as much for preserving the historic properties, especially of a couple who commission an enormous sculpture of insects to run along their front fence. Old Cranberry is a town never short on the bizarre or controversial.
DISLIKE- Nothing. Send more stories please. Now. Please?
RECOMMEND- Absolutely. You must read The Wonder Garden, Acampora has crafted a collection of affecting and unusual stories. I can't wait to see what she cooks up next.