Review of Stories (Within) Anthology
There is a clever device being used in Stories (Within) Anthology that even the title teases the reader with. The idea of nesting stories is intriguing: a frame story within a frame story within another and so on. At the middle, where metaphorically, each story had been taken out and opened like one half of a nesting doll, there is a large pause, a moment of tension—will the stories be finished? Do they resolve well, or do they cause the reader pain? The answer is both. As the ends of the stories begin to rapidly appear and be placed back together one could say they are renested, but I feel that they are put together whole and displayed at the end. Each writer created their own world and short story that was able to be cracked open and woven together. The overarching narrative dealt with the peace of stories and their control versus the lack of control of the outside world. I feel that this is the writers’ domain. They have the control and shape the narrative. Readers have both the comfort of endings, but they cannot change the story they are told in the moment. They do, however, know that the
writer will write an ending. This might be the most comfort they can attain in a world without control and full of hazards and unknowns.
12 authors explored this format and did so excellently. It was a fun read even as it was puzzling. The form is a creative take on the frame story. To have so many frames going creates a Meta aspect, especially when Grandpa in “Storytellers” nods to the setup of the anthology. Several stories are science fiction or speculative and others are more literary. This dynamic adds tension. Every story is does its role well in the nesting and is well written. Very worth reading and experiencing the form.
Please go check them out and pre-order!
*Thank you to Gabby Gilliam for the ARC copy.