Unaccustomed to Grace
Unaccustomed to Grace by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Unaccustomed to Grace is a collection of beautifully written short stories that will keep you reading to get to the outcome of the many improbable and yet compelling situations. The people in these stories grapple with death, and yet again and again, they find life. They long for miracles and miracles occur, but never of the sort they wanted. Bannatyne is a terrific writer whose work rewards readers and should be better known.
Author Lesley Bannatyne is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on Halloween. She has investigated the literature of horror, and she has traveled the country, conducting interviews and investigations into the obsession with death and horror and the ways in which creativity and humor transform them.
She brings these insights to stories of people grappling with the dead (most entertainingly, perhaps, in “Corpse Walks Into a Bar”), with parental grief (“Waiting for Ivy” and “The Child That Went”), and with murderous rage (“On Tuesday I Will Kill Him”). Private suffering in the face of historic events are depicted in “The Boy in the Boat” and “Sunbathing in Russia.” Many of these stories feature characters who brush up against the supernatural, but whether these interactions are imaginary or factual is not always clear.
Nor should it be. The ambiguity gives many of these stories their credibility and their richness, and ultimately tremendous satisfaction to those who read them.