Monday, May 25, 2015
Book Review: "Einstein's Beach House: Stories" by Jacob M. Appel
The eight stories in Einstein's Beach House are slightly quirky (but not distractingly so), somewhat moving and each at least a little bit humorous, and extremely memorable. Jacob Appel does such a great job developing his characters and the plot of each story, I honestly could see many of them developed into a full-length novel, and I'd definitely want to read those books, since I wanted more of the characters.
It honestly is hard to pick favorites, since each story was just so good, but the few that I can't stop thinking about right now are: "Paracosmos," in which a married couple is worried that their daughter is obsessed with her imaginary friendand then the girl's father shows up; "La Tristesse Des Herissons," which tells the story of a couple whose relationship hits a bit of a snag when they adopt a depressed hedgehog; "Limerence," in which a man looks back on his crush on his much more worldly next-door neighbor; "The Rod of Asclepius," which tells the story of a young girl caught up in her father's acts of revenge; and the title story, in which a family tries to make hay of a typo in a travel guide, only to have the tables turned on them.
I had never heard of Jacob Appel until two friends on Goodreads raved about his writing, and this story collection in particular. They couldn't have been more on target. He is such an engaging writer, and even though the subject matter of these stories isn't quite your everyday stuff, the stories are tremendously human (and often humane), and really pack both a literary and an emotional punch. I'll definitely be picking up some of Appel's other books, but in the meantime, I highly recommend you pick this collection up. You won't regret it.