The stories in The Bed Book of Short Stories were written by authors, some new, some well-known and established, from Africa. There you have the first common denominator – they are all African writers. The second commonality among the stories is that in each of them a bed played a role.
The idea of “bed” being a thread throughout the book interested me. I admit, though, knowing the writers were all from Africa intrigued me since just about all the books I read are by American, Canadian, or British authors. I thought that The Bed Book of Short Stories would take me to places I’d never been before. It did. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Some stories will make you smile. Some will make you cry. All are well-written and compelling. In some, the bed is a comfy mattress. In others, it is a rolled up pad on your back as you trudge through heat and pain trying to reach a safe-haven.
I loved all the stories, but the one that still plays in my mind is Stains Like A Map by Jayne Bauling. It’s brilliantly told in first person. You live in a woman’s head as her life undergoes major changes, from her marriage bed to hauling that bed on her back as she and her husband walk through heat and exhaustion for days, trying to reach a better life. She experiences great loss and depressing fear, but trudges forward. By the end of the story, I had to put down the book since I was crying too hard to read another one.
But I did later go on to read all of the stories. I would recommend that you, too, read all of them. They can give you a new perspective on life, happiness, suffering, and joy.
I give The Bed Book of Short Stories a Hel-Yeah.
The Bed Book of Short Stories
ISBN-13: 9781920397319 (B&N U.S.)
ISBN 978-1-920397-31-9 (On copyright page)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Judy Croome, an online friend. Knowing her as a fellow blogger did not influence my review, nor did the fact that 7 of the writers autographed the book. What did influence me was the excellent writing and being introduced to cultures and people new to me. One thing that struck me is that perhaps because the closest I've been to Africa is Morocco, although I would love to go, I tend to think of Africa as one big place. But it is not. The writers hail from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia. Each writer had a different perspective and different story. Joanne Hichens, who edited the book, said this in her Introduction: “As South Africans, we have the distinct privilege of being exposed to, and being part of the fabric made up of a range of cultures. Inviting writers from beyond the borders to submit work meant that stories were drawn from an even more vast store of experience.” I would add that reading stories from this wide range of writers took me beyond the borders of the U.S. and thus broadened my life.