Title: A History of Objects
Author: Carlo Pizzati
Genre: Short Stories
Publisher: Harper Collins
Are objects merely inanimate things, sitting around us, a witness to our lives, our exhilarations and tribulations? Or do they play a part in the events, precipitating conflict, resolving conundrums, pushing us to explore new paths?
In ‘A History of Objects‘, things may not be pivotal in bringing about change, but they certainly allude to differing perceptions and evolving situations.
It is a collection of short stories, of diverse people and places, that span decades and lifetimes of protagonists. Many of these are open-ended, for the reader to imagine how things turn out.
About the Book
The book opens with a wonderful premise, of the narrator losing objects, or rather his stories of them through another object that has a great hold over us — a hard drive. And thus begins the book of many delightful tales, delving deep into families and people’s lifestyles, their beliefs, aspirations and fears.
There are many bits and pieces from these stories that felt viscerally ‘right’, right from our vices and failings to our affectations while navigating confusing circumstances.
While The Coconut Scraper makes fun of artistic pretensions, The Portrait deifies art, bestowing it a kind of prescience.
The Sweater digs through a family history, uncovering deep rooted prejudices around the color of skin. The theft of the sweater is presented through the eyes of the thief and you are convinced of the inevitability of it ending up with her.
The Mask brings into sharp focus the pandemic and everything we have collectively been through in the past 2 years. I loved the way it ended, not knowing if someone were infected or not, because we all felt doomed in either case.
The Leash is a little funny in its treatment of the characters and their lifestyle, even though the psychological manipulation in the story is tragic.
The Jade Stone is relatable; it’s what I see around me today – the ambition, the lack of understanding and dare I say it, the impermanence of relationships.
The Smartphone is very contemporary, very apt, very true. The story of a couple seemingly on a paradisical farm who are in fact trapped because of social media, is just a few degrees away from the truth we all face.
The VHS tape is so innocuous and chilling in its possibilities of a gun hidden and found by someone vulnerable.
The Bench, oh dear, it’s so clever, it’s so right, its so bang-on, not just about literary festivals but about sexism.
Reading these stories felt comforting for their excellent observations, the perfect prose, the slight detachment from the characters, yet diving deep into life through their stories.
You can buy the book here.
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