Stories When Watched by Leopoldine Core
WARNING: this is not a particularly nice review, and for that, I’m sorry for sounding like a dick.
The art of writing a short story is difficult, in my opinion. There needs to be a purpose, there needs to be (true) motive, there needs to be a connection between the reader and the characters. All of these being unfortunate reasons why Core’s collection of short stories fall just a little too short for me.
I really wanted to like these, I did. This was a present bought for me at my own request! But Core’s writing feels and reads like that of a social justice warrior hipster who has crammed a myriad of ‘diverse’ characters into her stories in a fruitful bid to get me to like them, just one of them. I use the word diverse in quotation marks because when I picture all her characters, all I see are faceless, white, women. The majority of these stories are about women, and I assume (which you should never ever do) that Core is a (white) feminist who doesn’t understand the underlying issues in even that, to understand how her writing may fall flat to readers like me. Does Core believe she’s written relatable, edgy humans?
Don’t get me wrong. There are a few gems, a few poignant moments where you feel for characters who are lost, hopeless, angry at the world and their absent father. For characters who are in love, who ponder their relationship, sweet, enjoyable, comfortable moment. My favourite between an old couple who are travelling to a different city, where the husband has a morbid sense of humour. But then there are characters who are LGBTQ+ for the sake of being LGBTQ+, prostitutes for the sake of selling their bodies, characters who you don’t hate, don’t like, but don’t necessarily root for either.
It’s a tough bunch and it made me wonder whether I was just being a tough crowd, but somehow I just couldn’t go with the flow on this one.
FYI My toast ain’t burnt it’s Marmite, I like Marmite.