The importance of characters in works of fiction can not be overly stressed. They are what make us connect to the story and the plot that unfolds. Without them you have nothing and with characters of truth, you have the beginnings of everything. My favorite books are those whose characters connect with me, draw me in and often times completely shock me in their honesty and humanity. The last two books I have read have made me think on the subject of character creation in fiction because they have both done it so seamlessly and in a truly natural way. I am amazed at their talent and their ability to push boundaries and be original even shocking at times. Their talent is inspiring.
Review: Boys and Girls Like You and Me by Aryn Kyle
Award winning author Aryn Kyle has created a intriguing and mesmerizing work in her latest literary accomplishment, a captivating short story collection: Boys and Girls Like You and Me. Diving into the lives of characters full of angst, hope and fear Kyle has put forth eleven stories that will transform and inspire. Eleven stories crafted to make an impact on almost any reader. The majority of her characters are female and quite disastrous in their life choices, often making horrid life decisions, pathologically lying or even crossing moral boundaries many hold dear. However readers will find themselves hungrily reading story after story finding the characters both fascinating and even likeable. Like a drug once began it cannot be stopped.
From the nine-year-old Tess who has spent most her young life creating her own world through lies and manipulation to the single Leigh who still pines over a past love while trying to search for the true path her life should take. Kyle’s central characters are strong and unique in multiple ways each showing their incredible attributes as their stories elegantly un-fold.
It is the characters in Kyle’s work that make these stories unforgettable. She has truly gone above and beyond in creating characters that readers will not only respond to but relate to and even be shocked by. Thus her new book is impossible to put down. Much like The God of Animals, it is in many ways breathtaking in its beauty and honesty. Kyle’s short story Femme even goes so far to demonstrate the deep understanding the author has for the relationships often formed between women and the trust boundaries often forged and broken. She is an artist of words but also an observer of life whose accounts will leave readers wanting more.
This reviewer is generally not a fan of the short story genre but will continue to sing the praises that are so deserved by Boys and Girls Like You and Me. And perhaps in the future it will also cause me not to judge a book by it’s genre but to look deeper into the soul of writing which most often lies within its characters and their relationships with others.
The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
Another work I urge readers not to miss is Elizabeth Berg’s latest The Last Time I Saw You. I myself have always been a fan of Elizabeth Berg and most of all of her setting and character development. Her writing is like a comfort food to me at times, warm and nourishing. Her latest work is no different. As it explores the hopes and dreams we nurse throughout life, we see an amazing cast of characters form for their 40th and very last High School Reunion. Many have faults, silly obsessions or past indiscretions but each and everyone seem to come across as genuinely true and real. As each come forward with their hopes for this big night, we see a beautiful rendering of what life can sometimes offer and take away. One of the things I look forward to most in reading Berg’s works is meeting each one of her characters and getting to know them as people. Because when Berg writes a novel, they are not simply characters: they come to life. This latest endeavor is no exception.