Angels of Stockholm is the debut short story collection of fellow Adelaide Books author Neil Desmond. I was initially drawn to it because Neil sets much of his fiction in Vermont, as do I. It’s always fun to see how other writers represent the places that are so much a part of me.
Here is my review:
Reading Neil Desmond’s debut short story collection, Angels of Stockholm, was a real pleasure, as each story’s opening signaled that I was to read it with fresh eyes and no preconceived notions of what I would find there. The collection shows a wide range of settings, from the Austria and Sweden of the title story to New York City to the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont to a brothel in Pakistan, all rendered with a deft hand. There is a wide range of characters in the collection as well, again, all rendered believably.
Of particular note in these stories is the use of the omniscient narrator, which I don’t often see in contemporary short fiction. I enjoyed becoming reacquainted with it. The title story establishes the main theme of the collection, which is the need for human connection and the many guises it can take. In addition, there is a thread of the supernatural that weaves in and out of the collection, tantalizing the reader with connections to a spiritual realm that most of us don’t have. My favorite story in the collection is “Leaving Karachi,” for its central conflict, building of suspense, strong characters, and vivid scenes. I look forward to seeing where Desmond’s imagination will take me with his next collection!