Originally posted Friday, February 27, 2009
Fierce is a wonderful mix of writing styles, individual short stories and a novella. I will deal with the short stories first. I found the stories to be unrelated to each other, different types of stories, although some have a similar basic theme. Hannah has an exciting style that serves her well. The stories can flow into one another, or they can be read one story at a time with breaks between. There are nine short stories in all, dealing with such subjects as sudden death, the ones left behind, ghosts, living with mental and physical deformities, memories, lost souls and sexual crimes, and healing. They show an insight and charm that negates the depression of some subjects. The stories are very well written, some very short and others longer, a little mystic at times. Regardless, there seems to be a message of despair in some that turn to hope. Don’t imagine the book to be depressing, it isn’t. It delves into peoples’ lives in fascinating ways. Most take place in or around water; I assume this is probably coastal. Hannah Holborn is a Canadian author living in White Rock, B.C. She has worked with the First Nations, inner-city youth, and the mentally ill which shows in her writing. Most of the stories are centered around young people and their families or foster families. The stories are easy to read, enlightening, and often witty.
The novella makes up the second half of the book, River Rising. This story takes place in the fictional very small town of Everlasting, Yukon, situated between Dawson City and Mayo. It is a town of dysfunctional citizens and families living out their lives with high unemployment and too much gossip. Isolated as they are, they have only each other and drink for entertainment. The characters are once again well-defined, and there are underlying stories of love and hope. Difficult as their lives are, I felt at the end I wanted the story go on.
The book is complex, creates whole lifetimes in short stories and the novella. It was an interesting experience to take part in. I recommend this book for quick reads, reading through at one go, for family dynamics. Well worth the read.