Thursday, 24 August 2017

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'What My Last Man Did' by Andrea Lewis

Hey guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am excited to be reviewing a wonderful book of short stories (which you guys know are one of my favourite kind of books) called What My Last Man Did by Andrea Lewis. What My Last Man Did is a fantastic collection of short stories chronicling the experiences of a family spanning generations. The settings are distinct but all exquisitely detailed, from New Orleans in 1895 to New Mexico in 1975. Although the collection explores a plethora of different issues, from racial tension, family relationships and natural disasters, the collection ties together brilliantly and is altogether a wonderful read. 

I was kindly sent What My Last Man Did by Indiana University Press in exchange for an honest review <3

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...


How are our lives shaped by the difficult choices of our parents and even grandparents? How will our own choices direct the future for our children? Following generations of one family across nearly a century, each of Andrea Lewis s intertwined, engaging short stories evokes an intense sense of place and time, from New Orleans in 1895 to Grand Isle, Louisiana, during the hurricane of 1901 and on to London during the Olympic Games of 1946. The people in these ten vivid tales face tragedy and real-world catastrophic events war, hurricanes, the Great Depression, racial tension in their pursuit of love, family, and belonging. Each character struggles to discover and preserve his or her identity and dreams while grappling with the expectations of family and culture and trying to cope with loss. Some succeed, some compromise, and some fail, but all have a traceable impact on a story to come.

I haven't read a collection of short stories for a while, so I was really excited to be offered  this by Indiana University Press. I particularly enjoy collections of short stories where the separate stories are interlinked in some way, or the same characters crop up in various stories. What My Last Man Did is one of those collections - all of the stories are interlinked and there is a strong aspect of cause and effect in these stories - each event has a direct impact on one of the other stories in the collection. I really liked how the stories weren't in chronological order but were scattered across time, in a delectable variety of settings. Each setting was so perfectly and painstakingly described - you can really lose yourself in these stories.

Lewis' writing is fresh, imaginative and vibrant - the characters in particular simply pulsate with life. They are funny, tragic and most importantly realistically. In a short story it's really important for every action to be necessary and align with common sense, and this is exactly what I found in this collection. Lewis is an expert at portraying humanity - the good, the bad, the strange and uncanny. What My Last Man Did perfectly captures what it means to be human, and what is important to us as a species. 

What I also loved about this collection was that it is a perfectly balanced selection of stories - some are heartbreaking, some are uplifting, but all of them are authentic and arresting.

I would highly recommend What My Last Man Did - even if you haven't read a short story collection before!

Buy What My Last Man Did here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/What-Last-Man-Did-Blue-Light-Books/0253026709/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502894537&sr=8-1&keywords=what+my+last+man+did

Check out Andrea Lewis here: http://andrealewis.org

Until next time :)