Reading progress update: I've read 214 out of 214 pages.

Other People We Married - Emma Straub

What a book. My thoughts on the stories I've read since my last update: 

 

"Puttanesca" - An interesting, but flawed, look at a widow and widower attempting to move on past their deceased spouses by dating. The Rome setting is fun and interesting, but these characters feel a bit shallow and vapid to me. 3.5/5 

 

"Marjorie and the Birds" - This is a much better look at widowship. Marjorie, an older woman trying to get over the death of her husband, takes up bird-watching and even joins a bird-watching group. Marjorie is one of my favorite characters in this entire collection, and I was rooting for her by the story's end. 5/5 

 

"Orient Point" - The shortest story in this collection, "Orient Point" is largely ineffectual simply because it says nothing Straub hasn't said better elsewhere. Like a few of the other stories, it's about two people who don't really love each other anymore going on a trip somewhere, and while that works in the other tales, here it just feels tired and played out. 1/5 

 

"Mowhawk" - This story closes the book on Franny from "Pearls" and the title story, and in this one she and her husband, Jim, are taking their young son to camp and musing on what it will be like with no distractions at home -- just spending time with each other. They have doubts because their relationship has always been shaky. Straub's cutting insight into what makes relationships tick is what sets this story off. 5/5 

 

"Hot Springs Eternal" - Like a few of the previous story, this collection's closer features a couple going on a road-trip and trying to solve their problems. This one is different, however, because the couple is gay, and I must say the guys -- Teddy and Richard -- are both so well-drawn and interesting that I can immediately conjur up images of what they look and act like in my head. It's perhaps the most successful meditation on human relationships and interactions with one another in this book. 5/5 

 

 Later tonight I will compile all of my posted thoughts on the stories into one review, as well as add some overall thoughts on Other People We Married. Stay tuned.