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Archive for November, 2013

TITLE INFORMATION

MR. HEATHCLIFF’S FORTUNE AND OTHER SHORT STORIES

Temmer, L S

CreateSpace (174 pp.)

$12.00 paperback, $8.99 e-book

ISBN: 978-1482391930; May 14, 2013

BOOK REVIEW

Temmer (Throw Granny off the Balcony and Other Short Stories, 2012) offers a collection of five diverse, experimental

short stories.

These tales, ranging in length from the 14-page “The Sentimental Imagination” to the novella-length title story, take

place in disparate settings and time periods, such as the Ottoman Empire, the United States during the French and Indian

War, or Paris in the late 19th century. However, they’re united by their exploration of metafictional elements and the

concept of time. Some stories share common themes such as spurned love, desperation and unfortunate beginnings. “Mr.

Heathcliff’s Fortune” offers an explanation of the title character’s whereabouts during his absence from Yorkshire in the

Emily Brontë novel Wuthering Heights: He was in Louisiana, earning money gambling and wrecking lives. However,

the author’s portrayal of Heathcliff as evil may disappoint readers who see the character as merely haunted and obsessed.

The metafictional final story, “The Cartographer,” begins with the doomed romance of a beautiful courtesan, Guilia, and

Antonious, who she doesn’t know is a eunuch; their story is told within a second story about a fictional romance

between academics Vittoria and James, which is itself told by novelist Marguerite. The novelist’s actions, meanwhile,

are directed by the Divine Mind and the Universal Mind. It’s the most successful story in this collection and the most

amusing as well, with the priceless line: “[A]ll sorts of cruelties exist when women and eunuchs are left to their own

devices.” Interestingly, many stories’ turning points hinge on written documentation, such as diaries or poems. Despite

often flawless prose, the stories tend to suffer from lengthy buildups, with climaxes only occurring in the final pages.

Overall, however, although some stories skirt the fine line between intellectual experimentalism and just plain weirdness,

fans of short fiction will find them well worth their time.

An ambitious, if occasionally uneven, story collection.

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