There is a lot of loneliness in Lily King’s story collection, Five Tuesdays In Winter: single parents dealing with the loss of a partner; kids with distant or absent parents; unrequited relationships. But there is loveliness too, with unexpected connections made among these lonely people, or at least the promise of future healing and understanding. I don’t always love short stories, but these were really, really good.
Why I picked it up: I like Lily King and the reviews of Five Tuesdays In Winter, which came out last November, were stellar. Plus my friend Sarah liked it a lot and we tend to like the same books.
In my favorite stories, a curmudgeonly used bookstore owner nurses a silent crush on his employee and a teenager working as a mother’s helper has to fend off advances from an adult she had secretly been writing about in her diary. I also enjoyed a story about a teenager left in the care of two college students who end up being kind and encouraging, building his confidence and giving him a glimpse of the future. Lily King’s stories are quirky and specific enough to feel vivid and utterly believable, yet profound enough to deliver a poignancy that punches above their length. I read these stories slowly, letting them evolve and deepen like mini-novels. 240 pages passed rather slowly, but not in a bad way. You don’t want to speed through these chapters for fear of lessening their import.
Reading Five Tuesdays In Winter is making me want to go back and read the novels of King’s that I’ve missed (Euphoria, Father Of The Rain), and maybe even reread the ones that I read a long time ago, which have faded in my memory (The English Teacher, The Pleasing Hour). She’s that good.
Five Tuesdays In Winter was the 3rd book of 2022, and it satisfies the Short Stories category of the 2022 EDIWTB Reading Challenge.