How Much the Heart Can Hold – Seven Stories on Love
Many will know of my passion for short stories so when How Much the Heart Can Hold arrived for review I was just as keen to get into this outstanding collection of stories on love. The real beauty of this book lies in each unique story and the list of writers who have made a contribution is like a who’s who in the literary world today.
The idea of commissioning the stories from the publisher Sceptre was based around a short story competition (now closed). With the winning entry having their story included in the paperback version released in February 2017 as well as a cash prize. Now just how good is that?
Each of the stories takes on a personality of their own through each of the writers. Some of the stories we just totally incredible some I felt lacked depth but in a collection of short stories there will always be some that reach the highs and others that for reasons just do not reach the same level.
The one stand out story for me was by Carys Bray author of the wonderful A Song for Issy Bradley and Bray’s story is called A Series of Codas is a rare thing of beauty. Here we see Louise struggling as a single parent and now she has to deal with her father’s serious illness after a collapse during a football match. She now has to look after her son Max and now also her father as he recovers from surgery. This is truly beautiful story of how we deal with life and the challenges and changes that we face. When faced with the challenges that Louise faces the message here is to treasure every moment and hold our loved ones close to our heart and talking of hearts. Having been through heart related surgery on a number of times over recent years I was taken by Bray’s take on hearts. Talking about people still being just the very same people after heart surgery and after all it is all just plumbing. It is just how I described my surgery to my close ones to stop them worrying.
Hearts can cope with so much after all they are the strongest muscle in our bodies yet at the same time have to cope with so much pain and loss and also capable of so much love. Some of these stories may not be to everyone’s taste but give this a go if you are a lover of the short story and just How Much the Heart Can Hold.
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Thank you to Nikki Barrow for the advanced review copy.
How Much the Heart Can Hold is published by Sceptre and is now in hardback available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.