Without trepidation or hesitation, I declare this a very good short story collection and wholeheartedly recommend it to devoted lovers of art and literature.
In The Unfinished Novel, Valerie Martin not only displays expert craftsmanship, but she also concocts truly identifiable, interesting characters with extremely engaging plots.
It’s rather common knowledge that hardcore bookworms have flirted either with the idea of writing something themselves or with some other artistic endeavor. This makes The Unfinished Novel the perfect collection for such insatiable readers. Each story focuses upon an artist of some sort – whether it be a painter, an actor, a novelist, or a poet – and each artist struggles not only with life and its challenges, but also with their craft.
Martin composes eloquent, vibrant sentences with powerful diction, and she also comprehends what it means to be a creator, thus presenting authentic, flawed characters for whom we have no trouble imagining and owning.
My only complaint with The Unfinished Novel is that Martin tends to end her stories on an abrupt, often haphazard note. She lays such solid foundation that I found myself surprised when her endings came out of nowhere and, in some cases, seemed to exist independently from the preceding plot. In most cases, this was a forgivable offense, but with the story entitled “The Bower,” it really ruined an otherwise exceptional tale.
That being said, the installment titled “The Unfinished Novel” is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read, and I assure you, that’s not hyperbole. Making up most of the book’s content, this short in particular is worth the purchase price alone.
Like I already said, if you love art and literature, appreciate fine writing and astounding vocabulary, and can’t get enough of realistic, captivating characters, then The Unfinished Novel and Other Stories is a must-read.