Ottawa author Conor McCarthy releases a book of short stories
Author: Conor McCarthy
If you are in the mood for captivating, elegantly written short stories that can be read in under 30 minutes, Wanderings may be just the book for you. The stories are comedic, heartening, and sometimes melancholy but never disengaging.
Most of the stories pertain to travel encounters while "wandering" — not trekking for either rational nor well thought out reasons.
The second story of the collection is a favourite and acquaints the reader with one of the only repeat characters in the book. Waldo Emerson is a delivery driver who flees his hometown because of a red light ticket, only to end up in a far more precarious situation. It is a heartening, gut-wrenching and sometimes comedic tale that, in of itself, makes the book worth the read.
"The Tower" is a particularly relatable story, given that it's about a colony of people who have been stuck inside a compound for 16 years to live out the aftermath of a post-apocalyptic global pandemic. Reading it in this strange new COVID world struck a chord of similarity while reinforcing how lucky we are that it isn't the end of civilization as we know it.
McCarthy goes out of the way to point out small details that visualize the stories in an astounding way — all the more impressive when each story is only a couple-of-dozen pages long, yet there is no saturation of small details either. Interestingly, there's no mentioning of stereotypical tourist destinations. This along with his attention to detail, he paints a vivid picture, like in the story "Larry and Lori", which takes place in Laos. The narrative transports the reader to the location by describing small bits of information about the surroundings. The discomfort of the character is palpable and makes the story more interesting.
Another beautiful story in the book, "Common to Man", takes place in Livingston, Guatemala, an Afro-Caribbean/Garifuna settlement in the mainly Latino country. While somewhat tragic, the story rings of the Hemmingway novel "The Old Man and The Sea".
With each small detail, the stories grasp the reader. Each story is entirely different, yet equally enjoyable, and each has a je ne sais quoi that makes the reader self reflect. The charm of the writing and the worldly perspective of the stories make the book a worthwhile read.
Whether you're looking for an easy read to decompress or want to escape to another place for a few minutes, Wanderings is a great candidate for the next book on your reading list.
Visit https://www.conormccarthy.ca/ to order a copy of Wanderings