Friday, April 23, 2010

Dark Roots

I believe this is the first time I've used a short story collection as the book of the month...

Dark Roots by Cate Kennedy

Dark Roots is a short story collection by critically-acclaimed Australian author, Cate Kennedy.

In the volume's title story a 39-year-old woman begins dating a 26-year-old man. At first the love affair makes her feel invigorated, sexy and powerful, but slowly insecurities begin to take over to the point where she begins to unconsciously sabotage the relationship.

The seventeen stories included in Dark Roots are full of individuals like this, true-to-life characters confused and unsure about their futures. Their actions, though, range from eerily familiar (things you can imagine yourself doing if you were in that situation) and completely inexplicable (things that leave you wondering just how desperate you'd have to be to take such risks).

Dark Roots explores what it means to be human. In these stories there is comedy and there is tragedy and in many cases it is Kennedy's subtlety that is her greatest strength.

In the story I mentioned above, the protagonist is reading the list of side-effects of her new birth control pills, among them is a "tendency to hirsuteness". I didn't recognize the word and was intrigued when, in the following sentence, the character resolves to avoid alcohol except in moderation, something that didn't seem to relate to any of the other side-effects. So, I looked it up and it seems that alcohol doesn't relate to hirsuteness either, as hirsute means "hairy" or "covered with hair".

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