Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kissing in Manhattan Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
At first, I was unsure whether I would like this book as I tend to enjoy novels more than short stories. But this book is a bit of odd duck. It is a collection of short stories, but they all intertwine; characters from one story show up in the next and they are tied together by the Preemption Apartment building where the main characters live.

You get a real Sex in the City feel for the first story, but there is a character mentioned, James Branch, who is dining alone and repeating the name of his entree outloud to himself. Something about that one small mention made James stand out for me and so when he popped up again in a charming magical realism story about a pair of opal earrings, I was hooked. James, for me, is the overriding reason to read the book. He is kind and compassionate, although at the end his compassion is a bit hard to comprehend. He is the one you root for, one of those very sweet men that you know if they will just come out of their shell a bit, and if some woman would just give them a moment of their time, magic would happen, love would happen.

Some of the stories stand on their own, and others definitely need to lean on their fellow chapters. Regardless, this is a lovely and well-written book that is a delight to read. And while the negative comments of some of my book club members were that the women are weak and the men are too demanding, I think James Branch silences those quibbles. James and the woman he ends up with (name not given so as not to spoil the book) redeem that dark quality in other stories and bring it all to a hopeful end.

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