Thursday, April 02, 2009

Review: The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories by Catherine Brady

These days the staff treated Natalie like a family retainer who had faltered long ago but was kept on, given occasional tasks and told nostalgic lies about her continuing usefulness. [pg 63]

The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories by Catherine Brady
University of Nevada Press, 2009
Fiction (short stories); 227 pgs

The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories by Catherine Brady is made up of 11 short stories, set in or around the San Francisco area. As a former Northern Californian, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of familiarity when a place name was mentioned that I recognized.

I have come to appreciate short stories more and more in recent years. Once I realized that short stories are not supposed to be mini novels, I am better able to enjoy them for what they are. Short story writers have less time to hook the reader in, and that includes creating characters that the reader can connect with. Catherine Brady not only is able to do that, but her characters are fully realized. Just a few of the characters introduced in the book include Judith whose former boyfriend committed suicide and who is struggling with her current relationship; Cerise who wants more for her daughter than what she had, pregnant at a young age, forgoing her education, and working long hours to support she and her daughter; a once successful photographer who is no longer the shining star; a middle child struggling to care for her elderly parents, including a father who had been abusive during her childhood; and a woman whose life seems to be falling apart around her, including her house and her family.

The language within each story flows effortlessly, the words carefully placed and yet natural. The stories are full of turmoil and strife, but not overwhelmingly so. They are stories about life, many of which readers will be able to relate to in one way or another. Each of the characters faces difficulties and is struggling with the present or the past; many striving for something better or at least different. Catherine Brady has put together a short story collection that is well worth reading. I definitely will be looking for Catherine Brady's other short story collections.

Challenge Commitment Fulfilled: ARC Challenge, New Authors Challenge & 2009 Pub Challenge

Check out
Catherine Brady's website for more information about the author and her books. She is also the author of Curled in the Bed of Love, The End of Class War, and Elizabeth Blackburn and the Story of Telomeres: Deciphering the Ends of DNA.

Many thanks to author Catherine Brady and TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.
Catherine Brady's TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Wednesday, April 1st: Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, April 2nd: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, April 3rd: S. Krishna’s Books
Monday, April 6th: Caribou’s Mom
Tuesday, April 7th: Maw Books Blog
Wednesday, April 8th: A Simple Walk
Friday, April 10th: Eleanor’s Trousers
Monday, April 13th: …and hijinks ensued
Wednesday, April 15th: A Blog of Her Own
Thursday, April 16th: Tomorrow is Another Day
Monday, April 20th: The State I Am In
Tuesday, April 21st: Book Club Classics!
Wednesday, April 22nd: Books on the Brain
Tuesday, April 28th: Clever Girl Goes Blog
Thursday, April 30th: Estella’s Revenge


  1. I haven't read any short stories for a while. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention, Wendy! :)

  2. I've tried short stories in the past and didn't love them. I hope to read some this year to see if I appreciate the genre more now.

  3. I'm not a fan of short stories but this one sure sounds nice. I'm not sure I'd pick it up though. Not that the book isn't great but a matter of personal preference over the type of material. :)

  4. I don't really read short stories, but they are great to listen to in the car.

  5. I just read about this one on Anna's site yesterday and it's definitely on my list. Like you, I think over the recent years I've finally come to really appreciate short stories. I am trying to read more too so always on the lookout for new authors :)

  6. When I read them, I enjoy them, but for some reason, I rarely seek them out. I'm not sure why. I will definitely keep Catherine Brady in mind!

  7. Nice review. I'm on the tour for this one as well on April 29. I can't wait to participate...these stories sound great.

  8. Great review Wendy and I really feel like I would like these stories. I have acquired a great appreciation for the short story and found that it is a genre that I enjoy.

  9. Wonderful review! It looks like a really good collection and I'm adding it to my TBR.

  10. Hi--

    It was so nice to see the review of my book, The Mechanics of Falling, and it was interesting to browse through the comments. As a short story writer, of course I'm aware that we have something of a hard sell in comparison to novels. But I love the form, and I think that one of the pleasures of a book of stories is that you can dip in at will--read a story here or there and wander back, get the satisfaction of reading a complete story in pretty quick time. And yet a story collection has continuity too, so that you begin to see the stories are exploring some related problems. Maybe because my own daughter was a teenager when I wrote these stories, many of them are about young women coming of age or their mothers as they struggle both to embrace their kids and to let them go. --Catherine Brady

  11. Melody - You're welcome! :-)

    Kathy - There definitely comes with it a different sort of expectation. I thought this was a great group of stories. There wasn't one I didn't like.

    Alice - I understand. Just like my not liking coffee. ;-)

    Charley - I hope you will try it. Catherine Brady is a gifted writer.

    Stacybuckeye - I hadn't thought of that before, but that's a great idea! For those of us with short commutes, it would be ideal. Now if only I didn't like to catch up on my news while driving to work in the morning . . .

    Iliana - I think you would like it, Iliana. It's a great collection of short stories.

  12. Jenclair - There was a while there when I was collecting every short story collection under the sun. I love the idea of short stories and I admire the writer who can write them well. Catherine Brady definitely falls into that category.

    Serena - I look forward to reading what you think, Serena.

    Staci - I think you might like them too, Staci! I hope you give the book a try.

    Teddy Rose - Thank you! I hope you do get a chance to read the book.

    Catherine Brady - Thank you so much for stopping by. I don't feel like I did your book justice in my review.

    You raise some very good points about the positives of reading short stories. I could definitely see the common threads that ran through each of your stories. And yet each of them were so different too, which is definitely to your credit.

  13. Glad to see you enjoyed the book, Wendy. I am eager to post my review - but have to wait until the 6th! I loved this book and really want to read more of Brady's work in the future!

  14. Wendy - I look forward to reading your review. I really enjoyed this book as well. :-)

  15. Short stories are great aren't they? I made hubby wait while finishing one in an anthology at the book store today lol.

  16. Jen - They are great. LOL That sounds like something I would do!

  17. I've come to quite enjoy short stories too. Like the author said in her comment, they're nice to dip into here and there, especially, I find, when I'm busy and simply don't have the time to really get into a novel. This sounds like a nice collection.

  18. Nat - Yes, they are good for those moments when you don't have much time. :-)

  19. Great review! I also thought the characterization was great, and I'm glad you enjoyed the book, too.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  20. Anna - Brady has a gift, that's for sure. And thank you for your kind words!


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