I am indebted to Andrea Amosson for sending me a copy of her volume of short stories Told from the Hips after an initial approach to me from Kelsey at Book Publicity Services. Told from the Hips is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Told from the Hips is a collection of nine pieces, although the Foreword by Claudia Martinez Echeverria is absolutely worth reading too, in order to understand more clearly the title and the presentation of male and female roles within Andrea Amosson’s writing. There is a feminist bent to the volume, but that is not to say that male readers would not appreciate them too, even if the women are much more prominent and well developed characters.
I really enjoyed these stories. Perhaps ironically, my favourite of all the entries was the shortest of all, FIERCE, written in homage to the author’s grandmother. With slightly different structure this one page passage would look like poetry and it certainly has the timbre and style of the most moving poetry. The language used is highly evocative and poetic at times and then quite prosaic and stark at others giving a balance to the stories that makes them easy to read and appreciate. I don’t usually quote from what I’ve read for fear of spoiling the read for others, but one line that really summed up the beauty of Andrea Amosson’s writing for me was from Rhizomatica: Rhizomatica doesn’t want to be a woman, she wants to be a book, and extends her arms like desperate lines of poetry seeking the light. I thought that was beautiful.
I loved the author’s South American Chilean heritage that resonates throughout (and I also appreciated the footnotes that defined one or two unfamiliar pieces of language). Although these stories have been translated from the Spanish, they have lost none of their beauty and power.
Told from the Hips is a collection I will return to several times as I think there are layers that I haven’t fully appreciated in just one reading. A lovely book.