Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: 'Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner'

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative for the author, Diane Meier, asking me to review Meier’s latest release, “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.” If you’ve read my blog long enough, you may recall the review I did last year of Meier’s delightful Season of Second Chances. She has now released a collection of short stories and I was more than happy to get a fist look at her latest release. 

Quick aside: My husband and I are both English majors. He has always said that the short story is his favorite genre. I, on the other hand, like to get lost in a big, fat novel. But, I recall a professor in college saying that the short story is the most difficult to write. It must draw the reader in, say as much as possible, and then close, all the while keeping the reader engaged. While some may say a novel is tough to write – and most certainly is – a writer can continue a novel for a very long time without having to wrap it up quickly and concisely. It takes a special talent to write a good short story.

That being said, I think Meier did an excellent job in telling each story, drawing you into the moment, giving you glimpse into the characters and then closing the narrative at the right time. Yes, I would have liked some of the stories to last longer, but perhaps that’s what Meier accomplished. She coaxed me in and left me wanting more.

“Breakfast” finds a group of New York magazine creatives on a photo shoot in a small town. I enjoyed the witty, sometimes catty and colorful, commentary of the “sophisticates” stuck in a Midwestern town. The variety of conversations, the push and pull among characters and the collective dislike of one troublesome outsider impacting the fold, made this story an engrossing read.

The reunion of childhood acquaintances occurs in “Lunch.” Of the three stories, this one was my favorite. I won’t give too much away, but it does illustrate how some things change, some stay the same; some people evolve, while others don’t, and unfortunately, years of experience doesn’t always result in enlightenment.

“Dinner” focuses on another group of artists, writers and “creative types,” dining at an inn. Quick-witted banter and observations of the world are batted among this group. Meier said this story is an homage to My Dinner with Andre, and that comes across through Meier’s delicious words, full of intellectual statements and questions.

If you’re looking for a smart read, I highly recommend this collection from Diane Meier. If you add it to your book club line-up, make sure your hors d-oeuvres and bottle of wine are top notch.

Last night, I finished the novel "Sarah's Key." Tragic, sad and haunting, it was a tough read emotionally. It will drain you. But, it was wonderfully written and I did make it through to the end. I plan to write about it in a future post.
Image from Amazon


Heather said...

I read Season of Second Chances and enjoyed it. I will look forward to reading this one. As for Sarah's Key, I did not think it lived up to the hype.

Sunday Taylor said...

This is a wonderful review of a book by an author I had not heard of. I will immediately look for this book, it sounds wonderful. I'm with you regarding novels, I'd rather get lost in a big sprawling tale. But I admire the skill and artistry that goes into writing a concise and tight short story.
I also read Sarah's Key and was very moved by the powerful and poignant story. I thought the movie was even better than the book.

Lily Lemontree said...

What an excellent review! Diane is such a wonderfully talented author and since we happen to be Twitter friends, I hope you don't mind if I point her in your posts direction!
I have never heard of Sarah's Key before but am on the hunt now!!

Town and Country Mom said...

Thanks for the recommendation--sounds like a wonderful book. I read Sarah's Key a year or so ago, and still find myself thinking about that story occasionally. Have you read The Hiding Place? I would definitely recommend it.

High Heeled Life said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful book and review .. it sounds great.. will have to check out...xo HHL

Jo said...

I've not heard of this author but will certainly be seeking the book when I'm at the book store. Thanks for the review.


The Entertaining House said...

I actually adore short stories. With the limited reading time I have these days, the short story (as much as an art form as the novel) is perfectly suited to my lifestyle.