Genre: Contemporary fiction, short stories
A Modern Life is a collection of thirteen short stories for time-pressed readers. A reflection on the challenges of living in the twenty-first century, A Modern Life covers a multitude of contemporary themes and styles and are categorised as “sweet” for the lighter stories, “salty” for the serious ones and “sweet and salty” for those with a mixture of humour and pathos. The collection opens with five humorous stories all featuring strong elements of slapstick comedy. The introductory story “Pork Chops and Promiscuity,” a tale of lesbian lust, sets the precedent for the remaining four comedic tales of office life, male striptease, amateur sleuthing and graveyard frolics. The following “salty” stories include tales of marriage, murder, suicide, child abduction, war, corruption and death. The collection ends with the “sweet and salty” story “Fantasia”, set in the near future when Walt Disney awakes from cryogenic suspension to discover the world is not quite as he expected.
A Modern Life is a diverse compilation of stories for readers who like to be thoroughly entertained with original comedy and thought-provoking contemporary drama. A versatile and original voice, this is Jane’s first collection of stories which was a precursor to her début comedy novel, The Changing Room. This edition also includes the opening chapter of The Changing Room.
This is a well-written collection of ‘sweet and salty’ short stories across a range of genres and topics, some light, and some dark and serious.
The ‘sweet’ tales are filled with wit, humour and originality. The ‘salty’ tales are generally dark in nature.
For me, the shorter stories were actually the best ones. The story that made the collection for me is the dark tale of The Princess and the Thief – it’s short, but it packs a shocking punch. No Returns makes for equally tough reading.
Overall, as with most short story collections, there is a mixture in terms of the quality of the stories. But the quality of the writing doesn’t waver – it’s great throughout. Well worth a read.
*I received a free copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.