I recently read a collection of short stories by Nancy Christie titled Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories, through NetGalley.
I enjoyed Christie’s writing style, although many of the stories found me wondering about the characters in them, as they made remarkably bad or just plain scary decisions. Christie says her characters cannot or will not get control over their own lives, and so the outcomes of their actions are often not what they expect. One story that sticks in my mind was Alice in Wonderland, about a woman who travels through books while her real life weighs her down. Watching for Billy was another story where you worried about the main character, often yelling out in your head, NO! Don’t be that nice person! Which is of course an interesting comment on society itself…we begin the story feeling sorry for Agnes and supporting her actions, all the while telling our paranoid selves that this will not turn out well. Still Life is a dream I myself have had, usually right before the alarm clock goes off.
That’s the beauty of these stories: they feed our paranoias, our fears, but also our dreams. Many of the characters resonated with me. I liked that each story was fully fleshed out, even in so few words. Often short stories leave more questions than answers and I feel unfulfilled by them, but this was not true of Christie’s stories. There was only one where I was left thinking, “Wait a minute. How does that work?” The creepy part of the mind is definitely at work here, but in a good way. I enjoyed reading these.
The publisher would like you to know that the book itself publishes Sept 9, but that the eBook of “Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories” is currently discounted for the prepublication price of $4.99 or less until September 9th (when it will go back up to the retail price of $5.99). If you preorder, it will be automatically delivered to your eReader on the publication date (September 9th). The prepublication discount is currently active on Amazon (http://tinyurl.com/q3vqvqr) Apple iBookstore (http://tinyurl.com/q3rjbkw), Barnes & Noble (http://tinyurl.com/moozc5y), Kobo (http://tinyurl.com/nt8vyyd) and other online bookstores.
If you enjoy short stories about people who aren’t perfect, but with a creepy tinge to them, because there is no way to read this book without getting a little creeped out, then you should enjoy this collection.