"Paradise and Elsewhere" by Kathy Page
The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin.
Paradise & Elsewhere by Kathy Page is an incredible collection of short stories that balance the line between fantasy and reality. Described as a collection of short fables, the stories in this book take you to far-away worlds, ones that are both familiar and strange.
I absolutely adored this book of short stories. I’ll admit that I have never been much of a fan, I prefer full-length fiction but this book hit the spot and gave me new appreciation for the genre. What did it for me was the fantasy element of the stories. Another genre I don’t read much of, these stories all had a perfect blend of fantasy and reality, making it difficult for the reader to tell just what is possible and what isn’t.
My favourite stories:
The Ancient Siddanese - a story of a group of tourists exploring the site of a long ago culture. But where on earth would this culture have lived?
We The Trees - a university professor tries to track down one of her students who is studying cross-species communication. Exactly how far will this student go to communicate with the trees?
The Kissing Disease - the story of a town quarantined because of a disease that spreads through kissing. Will the town be able to keep the healthy apart from the sick?
These stories, and the rest, are so beautiful and haunting, they stick with you. These are stories that are set in the imaginary worlds but also inhabit our own. They will definitely make you think about the way we live.
This was a 5 star read for me, which I honestly never thought I would give a short story collection. Usually with stories they end up leaving me wanting a little bit more but in this case, it was the complete opposite. I was so satisfied by every story and I just could not put the book down.