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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

May 19, 2022

Antipodes: Stories by Holly Goddard Jones ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I'm not a big fan of short stories, but I really enjoyed Holly Goddard Jones's The Salt Line when my post-apocalyptic book club read it a couple of years ago. I hadn't read any of her other works, but I know she often writes about motherhood. So I expected that to be the theme of her short stories.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of short story collection Antipodes by Holly Goddard Jones
May 2022; University Of Iowa Press; 
978-1609388294; ebook, print (224 pages); short story

I looked up the definition of antipodes because I wasn't exactly sure what it meant. It means the exact opposite of something or it is a reference (when used by people in the Northern Hemisphere) to New Zealand and Australia.

My thought that the stories would revolve around the theme of motherhood was pretty accurate. Many of the stories had a mother as the main character and the few stories that didn't were still about family in some sense. 

The stories are, for the most part, slice-of-life kind of stories. Some of the stories were a bit stranger than I like. For example, in "Distancing" which is set during the early days of the pandemic when everyone was staying home. The mother takes a daily walk in the woods and one day she starts eating dirt. When she tells her doctor friend she mentions that it might be the change - meaning menopause. They act like this is normal, and the main character recalls that when her mother went through the change she disappeared for a while. I thought she meant metaphorically, but I think she meant it literally.

I found "Swallows" to be a sweet story about new love. Whereas the story that preceded it, "Machine " served as a counterpoint in a sense. I found it kind of depressing. The main character is a struggling writer who has taken on a short-term visiting lecturer position. She's sharing the guest house with the visiting artist and she fantasizes about the three weeks they will spend together. Nothing goes as planned. I could only muster a little sympathy for her.

Ironically, "Machine" was originally published under the title "The Right Way to End a Story " and I felt like a few of the stories did not have an ending. Like the title story "Antipodes". It felt like it just stopped. At first, I thought perhaps that this was a collection of short stories where in the end they all tie together with a conclusion. That wasn't the case.

But not having a true resolution wasn't always bad. I enjoyed "Exhaust" though the ending is somewhat open-ended. It had all the makings of the urban legends we told around the campfire when I was a kid.

I thought all the stories were well written, even the ones I didn't particularly enjoy. If you are a fan of short stories, then this is a great collection with a bit of variety among the stories.

Buy Antipodes at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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