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5 of 5
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list price: $19.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
category: Fiction
published: May 2018
ISBN:9781771871570
publisher: Thistledown Press

The Things She'll Be Leaving Behind

by Vanessa Farnsworth

reviews: 1
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $19.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
category: Fiction
published: May 2018
ISBN:9781771871570
publisher: Thistledown Press
Description

The stories in Farnsworth’s The Things She’ll Be Leaving Behind explore what it means to be a woman in the modern world, struggling against circumstances that are often unfair, inexplicable, and destructive. The women in this book don’t always behave in ways that are sensible or advisable or, for that matter, likely to result in success, but there’s a warped logic to what they do and the reasons they do it are intrinsically human. These women have nothing in common except that they all find themselves trying to find their footings, preserve their sanity, and just generally survive in circumstances they never thought they would encounter. They don’t always do it gracefully. Occasionally alcohol or firearms are involved. Just like in real life.

 

The twenty-eight stories in the collection vary in length, intensity and impact. The short pieces that fluctuate between flash fiction and apologue are interspersed with events where women explore how to pick up a man, with more surreal episodes that deconstruct office reality, or even experimenting with rainfall with God and the devil. The longer stories in The Things She’ll Be Leaving Behind stray into the deep and dark territories of women’s suffering, guilt, and survival. In these tales, anxiety, restlessness and volatility are tapped like raw nerves, and the dangers and menace of events only mitigated by Farnsworth’s savvy use of black comedy and irony. Here women go toe-to-toe with chronic liars, dead grandfathers, beleaguered sons, mysterious voices, unfaithful husbands, midnight callers, spiteful sisters, and hallucinated clowns. Husbands go crazy or wayward or missing. Life hits walls and somersaults and does breathless, tactless things. The end result is fascinating inventive fiction.

About the Author
Vanessa Farnsworth is a freelance writer and long-time resident of the BC Interior. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals across Canada and in the US, including The Dalhousie Review, dANDelion, filling Station, The New Quarterly, PRECIPICe, QWERTY, and Reed Magazine. Her memoir, Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada (Signature Editions), was widely acclaimed when it was published in 2013.
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Contributor Notes

Vanessa Farnsworth is a freelance writer and long-time resident of the BC Interior. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals across Canada and in the US, including The Dalhousie Review, dANDelion, filling Station, The New Quarterly, PRECIPICe, QWERTY, and Reed Magazine. Her memoir, Rain on a Distant Roof: A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada (Signature Editions), was widely acclaimed when it was published in 2013.

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The Things She’ll Be Leaving Behind Review

“The Things She’ll Be Leaving Behind”, a collection of short stories written by Vanessa Farnsworth and published by Thistledown Press, is a riveting adventure of both the zany and the ordinary shown through the lens of interesting and realistic female protagonists. In our age of insipid, lazy, and cliché literature and filmography I found it truly refreshing to live the experiences of women with actual depth and character that extend further than either hopeless romantics who just need a man or vapid arm candy. Farnsworth crafts her characters with such care and insight that it was impossible for me to not to crack smiles as I read these misadventures. In each story I found myself relating with her characters, laughing with them or at them, and sincerely resonating with their emotions and struggles. I do acknowledge that from reading this as a male I may not have the correct perspective to fully appreciate this work, but did gain valuable insight from it that I hope readers of all genders can also reap.

After reading stories such as “The Canoe” and “Ten Reasons I Won’t Be Going To Heaven”, I continued forward with a secret hope that there would be sequels or continuations of these stories further on. The famous saying goes, “always leave them wanting more”, and Farnsworth certainly delivers on this front in the best way possible, and I still do hope that Farnsworth elaborates on these brilliant stories in her future work. All of that being said, each story was perfect in length and leaves the reader wanting more, yet satisfied with a complete story every time.

Although the stories are consistently high in quality and all have Farnsworth’s undeniably charming style, each story is also completely different. I never felt that I was reading the same story twice. Farnsworth’s range is beautifully demonstrated in this collection as her stories effortlessly jump from the relatively mundane to the extraordinarily bizarre. “The Beaver” is one of my personal favourites of this collection and the best example of how Farnsworth’s writing straddles these two ends of the spectrum with delightfully witty delivery. The story follows a crackpot scheme of two dysfunctional suburbanite drinking-buddies as they sip cocktails and discuss their plans to wreak havoc on those who have wronged them with a stray beaver who has made a home of one of their backyard pools. The story unfolds as the two lushes go from the best of friends to bickering over the slightest of perceived insults, and ends with one of the women hatching a new plan of betrayal.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend “The Things She’ll Be Leaving Behind” to those seeking well-written, charismatic, and realistic female protagonists in literature, or to those who are simply fans of strong storytelling. I found the greatest charm in how realistic these stories can be. They detail the struggles, fears, and insecurities that women actually experience and showcase them to the reader through an entertaining adventure.

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To see other book reviews, short stories, and more please visit www.soapboxstories.blog

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Other Titles by Vanessa Farnsworth

Rain on a Distant Roof

Rain on a Distant Roof

A Personal Journey Through Lyme Disease in Canada
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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