Monday, February 15, 2016

Ball by Tara Ison

Stories about women afraid of love

The stories in this collection, for the most part, concerned women who are afraid of loving someone so much they must break the tension in a horrifically transgressive way. The stories are about women with nutty obsessions. The bass line is sex and the release from the sex is a betrayal. I liked the title story, Ball. About a young woman and her little dog. I also liked Staples – like many of the other stories, it concerns a young woman in a sick relationship with a not very nice man. Many of the stories are funny with unexpected crazy details. Fish was another good one about an older woman waiting impatiently, again, nuttily and impatiently, for the death of her elderly uncle.

The prose was wonderful, pitch perfect, and vivid. And really the point of most of the stories is the very compelling voice drawing the reader in unquestioningly to that point of view. At the beginning, the characters seem normal, possibly neurotic, then the characters, not completely out of the blue, do shockingly bad things. I’m not quite sure, however, that all these stories lumped together like this work as a collection. The stories are so thematically similar that a little of this (the sudden turn to shock and gore) goes a long way.

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