The author Jennifer Egan made her name with a series of critically acclaimed, commercially successful novels, such as ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ and ‘The Invisible Circus’ so her story-telling talents have been honed by years of practice.
It is this facet of her talent that is allowed to shine the brightest in this small collection of eleven perfectly formed tales. We are let, for a short time into the lives of a number of characters, from the businessman in ‘Why China?’ who sees the man who swindled him and countless other small firms out of money, and follows him, dragging his whole family in his wake. In ‘Sacred Heart’ self harm bonds two disparate girls together, whilst in other stories we meet dissatisfied models, bankers, housewives, all looking for something to make their existences complete.
The book is a globe trotter’s delight, taking the reader from China to Bora Bora to life in big cities and small towns, places where everyone knows your names, to places where people don’t know their neighbours. It is a book about small lives, and big dreams, people wanting to escape, but trapped by the feeling of wanting to belong.
This is a fine collection, and if you enjoyed Egan’s other work, this is well worth a read.