#SharonOwens #drama #fantasy #shortstory #stories #carousel
The Lights on the Carousel were Beautiful
(review in English language)
- contemporary short stories -
Seeing the Twitter page of Sharon Owens I gladly learned this Belfast author didn't just write several highly praised novels - including the New York Times bestseller The Tea House on Mulberry Street - but she also published this very interesting story series:
The Lights on the Carousel were Beautiful
A collection of 28 short
stories for grown-ups
|Some reviews made me interested in the book, so I ordered it, started reading, and instantly fell in love with the very intense ﬁrst story: You feel like Sharon takes your heart, heavily squeezes it, and then lets go, so in the end you wonder if you want to keep crying, or start laughing, or try to do both at the same time. I totally love the book, have read it three times already. :)|
Genre: realistic tales, often dramatic - with a trace of Fantasy
In 27 of the 28 stories Sharon tells about the life of her characters in partly longer partly shorter episodes, all of which could be true, then concluding the multifaceted sequence by a silent and friendly Charles Dickens-like Fantasy ghost story.
Description of content
»There are 28 houses on this street and every one has a story to tell.«
The terraced houses on this side of the street aren't touching directly, the small distance between them allowing surreptitious looks through your own bay window to observe your neighbor just a little bit. Therefor people start by taking a passive part in the other guys' lives, before some of them also establish real contact with their neighbors.
Sharon tells the story of each house from the point of view of one of its residents. She lets you take part in the thoughts, memories, hopes, and fears of these human beings, and she does that in a straightforward way that has an immediate impact on the reader, so these changes in perspective make you feel like switching from one life to the next one when 'going' from one house to the next one ...
Structure of the book
28 separate stories, coupled together partly loosely, partly more ﬁrmly. Two sentences at the ﬁrst story's start tell about the time of the year and about the location. The ﬁnal Fantasy story includes a tour through the street, so there is no extra epilogue, but just this friendly eding.
Some of the stories tell about emotional violence such as humiliation or insults. People think about suicide, there are forms of mental or emotional illnesses, desire for revenge, murder, and fatal accident.
Location and time
Northern Ireland city or town, shortly after The Troubles took place: While the characters are aware of the violent conﬂict the stories do not describe any details.
Sincere, direct language, and authentic moods
Sharons very clear style of writing creates realistic characters and vibrant moodes. She tells about their strokes of fate and (mis)fortunes, and she makes you understand their respective ways of thinking. You get to know these neighbors, comprehend their attitudes, stand uncomprehending before their prejudices (or before the biases of their parents), admire their perseverance or their bravery. You're afraid, when they are, you laugh together with them, or you laugh about their quirkiness ... and it makes you quiver to see they're starting to realize the truth.
Just a few foretastes:
HAROLD SOLVES THE CASE
Something small and solid strikes the side of the bay window of the eighth house with a loud smack, and lands in the tiny front garden. Harold can't be sure but he thinks he saw a ﬂash of gold. Was a coin ﬂung over the fence? But coins are silver and bronze. He goes to the window and peers out. (...)
A HAT MADE OF CHERRIES
(...) Mary cuts through the town like a tornado. She is just vowing never to go to church again when she spies a hat made of cherries in the charity shop window. The hat is a thing of ugly beauty, Mary thinks. It is the answer to all of her problems. (...)
PERFECT LITTLE WORLDS
(...) Her attention returns to the miniature ballerina with her crimson lips sadly smiling. She is absolutely perfect. The eﬀect is so lifelike, Lara can almost hear the ochestra tuning up and the audience hushing as the dancer lifts up her toes, her slender arms forming an archway above her head, as she goes leaping and pirouetting into the spotlight.
My recommendation for reading the stories: Ponder about them and read in wonder. :)
Rarely a book was touching me so directly,
and in such an honest and haunting way.
Some of the stories I consider as magniﬁcent
as the best ones of Ray Bradbury.
It would be a great pleasure to me :) to read your opinion (on the book and/or on this review). Please use the Twitter link at the bottom of this page.
PS: I plan to keep up-to-date the following list of Sharon's opus.
Please note, there used to be some one using an Amazon account name that looks very similar to »Sharon Owens«, but that guy was (or still is?) selling 'books' that have nothing in common with Sharon's wonderful works, so be careful when seeing a title that's not listed here.
These are Sharon's books:
THE TEA HOUSE ON MULBERRY STREET
THE BALLROOM ON MAGNOLIA STREET
THE TAVERN ON MAPLE STREET
IT MUST BE LOVE
THE TROUBLE WITH WEDDINGS
(Ireland edition, same book as the next one)
REVENGE OF THE WEDDING PLANNER
(UK edition, same book as the previous one)
THE SEVEN SECRETS OF HAPPINESS
A WINTER'S WEDDING
THE LIGHTS ON THE CAROUSEL WERE BEAUTIFUL
THE MOUSE & THE MOON