Some weeks ago, I started reading a collection of short stories by local writer Jon Gresham. Here is a short review of the title We Rose Up Slowly.
To be a clown or a father? One man makes his choice but has to face the repercussions on his deathbed. What don’t we know about the kind lady in the neighbourhood who takes care of other’s cats when they are on holiday? How far would you for love, would you perhaps ride a bicycle into the sea at East Coast? These are some of the questions that Jon Gresham’s debut collection of short stories We Rose up Slowly asks.
We Rose up Slowly as a collection lingers in the space between the quotidian and the improbable, It delivers shocks to the reader just subtle enough to nudge him into discomfort but not quite enough to tip him over. The stories take characters as familiar as your beloved grandmother and expounds on their ordinariness, showcasing all the details that would usually only linger on the periphery of your consciousness.To see those details in ink, given space on a page, made me acutely aware of how little we actually notice about the people around us.
While, the stories meld together and complement each other in this collection, they each contribute a unique flavor to the collection.
They also written in deceptively simple language. At the same time though, Gresham speaks in turns, leaving room for ideation on what some ostensibly simple lines might actually mean. This is perhaps the lure of his tales: that they often end at points you don’t quite expect them to, leaving you to fill in the rest of the tale.
He weaves in references to local roads, places and even local slang in his work such that they don’t stick out uncomfortably—certainly no mean feat. At the same time though, I found myself smiling at the familiarity of many of them.
My personal favourite stories were “Rashid at the Sail” and “Other People’s Cats”. Without revealing too much I would say both stories discuss how the most seemingly ordinary characters can find themselves in some very complicated situations. I think they are my favourite for no other reason than that they had characters I found the most relatable.
I think what I enjoyed most about We Rose Up Slowly was the clarity and simplicity with which the complicated backstories of the characters was presented. This is not a book that asks too much of the reader, but is generous in the meaning and enjoyment it provides nonetheless. I will definitely be re-reading it soon.
We Rose Up Slowly is now available at local bookstore BooksActually. For more information on how to get a hold of this book, you can check out their webstore at http://www.booksactuallyshop.com/. Thanks once again to BooksActually for sending me a copy of this great read.:)