Review: Stay Up With Me, by Tom Barbash



Stay Up With Me
by  


Edition: 2014
Pages: 229
Editor: Simon & Schuster UK





Summary: 

The stories in Tom Barbash's evocative and often darkly funny collection explore the myriad ways we try to connect to one another and to the sometimes cruel world around us. The newly single mother in 'The Break' interferes with her son's love life over his Christmas vacation from college. The anxious young man in 'Balloon Night' persists in hosting his and his wife's annual watch-the-Macy's-Thanksgiving-Day-Parade-floats-be-inflated party, while trying to keep the myth of his marriage equally afloat. The young narrator in 'The Women' watches his widowed father become the toast of Manhattan's midlife dating scene, as he struggles to find his own footing.
The characters in Stay Up With Me find new truths when the old ones have given out or shifted course. Barbash laces his narratives with sharp humor, psychological acuity, and pathos, creating deeply resonant and engaging stories that pierce the heart and linger in the imagination.

Rating: 2/5

Review: 
I will start this review by saying that I received an online copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange of a honest review.

I admit that usually short stories are not for me. Even so, I like to give it a try from time to time and  I tend to find authors that make me fall in love with their work. For that reason and since Tom Barbash is so much praised, I wanted to give a try to the Stay Up With Me collection.
Unfortunately, I didn't find any connection with the stories and the characters. All of them all started with good premises that made me curious and anxious to keep reading but then there was always something missing to make them fully attractive and interesting to the reader.
In stories of this length, authors tend to go with open endings, specially because they mostly tell moments that are insert on daily basis lives. They are windows to someone existence and when the reader goes away, they are suppose to continue in their minds and in perpetual continuity. But still the reader needs to feel some closure to that small moments presented to him. The reader needs to feel connected to at least a little bit part of the story and to create empathy with the characters. And I couldn't do it with any of them.
I thought the short story about the party could have been one of them if the ending hadn't had such abruptness and wasn't so empty.
Besides that I still think I have to rate the book as 2 stars because I liked the concept, the beginning of the stories, the creativity behind it and the connection between the title's book and all the different themes in each story.

Cláudia
About the author:
 
Addicted to the library Claudia loves to read on the move and we can usualy find her sitting in a train or bus reading while commuting to and from work. But don't be fooled she is also keeping an eye on the landscape and all around her. She is an avid defender of sustainability and volunteering and it's as easy to find her starting a new project as it is to find her chatting with her friends. She is a dreamer and loves good stories so she keeps looking for them in her personal life.

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