These short stories are tales of strength, pain, sacrifice, and life. These are the voices of martyrs.
I know, I know, that's something people say when they're being pr*ts, 'oh the prose was rich and I'm soooo much more intelligent than all of you,' but I'm not sure how else to put it.
The prose here is an almost physical thing - something you can dig through, something with layers, something you can practically swim in.
So yes, until I come up with something better. The prose is rich in this book.
It gave a bit more continuity and together-y-ness to a collection that included such a wide and varied scope of genres and narratives - which was pretty damn cool!
Broaddus clearly decided to have a try at... everything! Because why pick one type of short story when you're clearly awesome at all of them!
Seriously, this dude's genre-hopping is impressive.
- slavery (including POV from the Captain of a slave ship)
I think that's everything. Honestly, sometimes it's hard to catch everything.
This does have some very graphic moments guys, so be aware.
Oh, and there's also swearing, and the odd reference to the sexy times here and there.
This book unfortunately shares the weakness of most short story collections: they can't all be winners.
Of course, different people will have different interpretations and preferences for different stories - it's just inevitable.
But there's enough good/great stories in there to make up for it!
Some of the stories are set in the same world/reality/whatever as others.
While that's all well and good, there's no real logic to which stories are set in which world, and it did lead me to being like: is X story related to Y story? Or are they completely different?
Not a big problem, but it was irritating.
The title story, and the last in the collection, The Voices of Martyrs, which is set in the distant future, is a great story about the evils of colonialism, and of colonial powers considering themselves entitled to indigenous lands and populations.
Why is it in this section then? Why not put it in the 'best bits' section?
Because it's too clever, and too well-written, for it's own good.
It's so subtle, and nuanced, and down-right clever, that I fear a section of readers will completely miss the point, and take the references to 'noble savages,' and the civilising influence of colonialism at face value.
Putting it bluntly, it's not clear enough.
In taking the intellectual road, it's muddled its own message. Which is unintentional, yes, but still a disappointment.
Honestly, Maurice Broaddus is a real talent, and this book is incredible!