In the Garden of the North American Martyrs by Tobias Wolff – A Book Review

This short story collection from Tobias Wolff is truly just that.  Each story gives you enough of the bare essentials to keep you informed and invested, but they never cross the line into anything remotely superfluous.  Each story feels very much like you’ve entered right into the middle of things and you are there for the climax, but not necessarily the introduction or the conclusion.

While I found this book to be an effective exercise in the art of the short story, I was even more moved by the flaws each character in every story displayed.  Wolff had grand success in getting down to the heart of who and what people are, and that is, in essence, good people that usually display less than admirable traits.  We all have those idiosyncrasies that make us unique and often troubling to our friends and family, and Wolff captures perfectly normal, though certainly troublesome, eccentricities amongst his characters that give us all we need to know about their particular story.

This is a very fast and interesting read, and if you ever wanted to engage in a deep character study in the genre of the short story, this is the collection for you.