Treats by Lara Williams
Over the course of 21 short stories, Lara Williams introduces us to a number of different characters, all at moments of crisis, or in the developments of crisis, or whole lives are revealed in the space of a few pages.
We have the post university come-down, of no jobs, or unrewarding jobs, of partners who are never what you hoped that they might be, of taxidermy, of sly humour, of the blackness of the human heart.
With an eye on both surprise, and comfort, on the familiar, and the unknown Williams sets out to expose 21st century life, morals, ethics and mores in a way that is both realistic, and startling. We see in It Begins the post university job interviews, that lead to jobs, and the people you meet along the way, the broken relationships, knowing that you are worth more than a very bad first date.
In A Lover’s Guide to Meeting Shy Girls or Break Up Record we meet heart-breaker in chief Devon, and his girl-friend Emily, and their break-up whilst watching Annie Hall, or in Both Boys, were two a girl meets two boys on the same night, and the story that unfolds for all three of them.
It’s a Shame about Ray covers the life of Ray, and the decisions that he makes, and in avoiding becoming the very thing that he hates, he becomes something else entirely. Dates looks at all of the rituals that we go through when first dating someone new, the questions to avoid, and the questions to avoid answering.
Taxidermy is the story of Neala, who in less than three years loses her boyfriend, her job, and her hair, and finds solace in stuffing animals, whilst Penguins looks at how the older we get, our friends seem to get busier and busier.
At 125 pages we are only shown a small snapshot of the interior lives of these characters. Some of the tales are sketches rather than full blown stories, but the all add up to something special within the pages of this very unique collection of short stories.