Title: All the Names They Used for God
Author: Anjali Sachdeva
Publish Date: February 20, 2018 by Spiegel & Grau
# of Pages: 272
Buy it*: Amazon
(From Goodreads) A haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives
Anjali Sachdeva’s debut collection spans centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters but is united by each character’s epic struggle with fate: A workman in Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills is irrevocably changed by the brutal power of the furnaces; a fisherman sets sail into overfished waters and finds a secret obsession from which he can’t return; an online date ends with a frightening, inexplicable disappearance. Her story “Pleiades” was called “a masterpiece” by Dave Eggers. Sachdeva has a talent for creating moving and poignant scenes, following her highly imaginative plots to their logical ends, and depicting how one small miracle can affect everyone in its wake.
Rating (1-10, 10 is exceptional)
Quality of Writing – 8
Pace – 9
Plot Development – 8
Ending – 7
Characters – 9
Enjoyability – 8
Ease of Reading – 8
Overall Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
All the Names They Used for God by Anjali Sachdeva is a delightful collection of stories that hook you from the start and drag you off to the imaginary world Sachdeva creates.
Short story collections are hard. The stories need to be brief but not so brief that the story details are lost. The stories need to be engaging–which is hard in only a handful of pages. Should the author have a theme for the short story collection, or is each story a unique standalone? There are a lot of factors to consider when compiling a short story collection, but as a reader, I can say that Anjali Sachdeva does it well in All the Names They Used for God.
The quality of writing is superb in this collection. The words flow smoothly and gracefully paint the pictures in each story. The pace of each story is quick. There’s never a dull moment or a time when the collection seems to drag.
The plot and concept in each story is unique in fascinating–truly. The only story I didn’t love was Manus. The rest were a joy to read. What’s most impressive is about this short story collection is how engaging each story is. I found myself invested in the characters almost immediately and enjoyed following their plights and adventures. I’ve read a lot of short stories over the years and never have I felt so connected with the characters, so this was seriously well done. My favorite stories were Glass-Lung and Anything You Might Want.
The story endings were thoughtfully constructed. A couple ended a bit too abruptly for my tastes, but overall, the endings were great.
The characters in this short story collection are the crowning achievement. Again, I’ve always had a hard time feeling connected to the characters in short stories, but in All the Names They Used for God, I felt a near-immediate connection to all of the characters. I loved this!
If you enjoy short story collections or want to give short stories a whirl, this book is for you!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Do you ever read short story collections? Why, or why not? What’s your favorite collection of short stories?
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