For the Love of Meat combines whimsical and surreal illustrations with engaging, intimate encounters that explore the depths of human experience. Unique and diverse in setting, and with touches of magical-realism, these nine stories will tug at the strings of the wandering, romantic heart, setting it delightfully ablaze.
In Wander the Desert, Sister Aurelia, a nun from the early 20th century, finds herself stranded in the Mexican desert with nothing but a few cobs of corn and a stray horse who becomes her faithful companion. In Stumble and Fall, we meet Dara, a young Londoner hungry for adventure who, unwilling to settle for the safety and comfort of home, travels to Vancouver, city of immigrants, where a handsome stranger entices her to take a leap into the unknown. The Two explores the tender bond between two young growing up in 1940s Philadelphia, who are as inseparable as light and shadow. As one of the girls tragically becomes ill, the impact on the other shows how true connections of heart and spirit are not bound to time and place. And Mémé, set in Haiti in the 1800s, is told from the stunning perspective of a slave who, as a child, witnesses the brutal murder of her mother, and survives through her connection to her brother and the natural world.
Jenny Jaeckel’s compelling storytelling takes us across the world and through the ages, with remarkable insight and soul-moving moments, when paths cross and time unfolds. Her language, imagery and attention to detail plunge the reader into these memorable lives, soaking us in tales of adventure, courage, love, loss, longing and all the hope in between.
This collection of short stories traverses both time and the world. You will find yourself as far back on time as 1570’s Poland, and back again into the present 21st century California, Jaeckel’s stories have a hint of magic and an abundance of love, with each story showing an integral part of the human condition.
Beginning with a supernatural occurrence at a monastery, then traveling with a nun to the desert in Mexico, at first I thought this book would be a religious one. But I was mistaken. More modern takes on love and life brought me to Canada, California and Spain. I think my favorite stories were the one set in Poland, between a court rogue and a Lady in Waiting, and “The Two.” This second story, about two cousins in 1970 Philadelphia really grabbed my heart. So interwoven are the two, they are almost one human.
I did find however, that after the first two stories, there was a disjointedness to the collection. Some of the stories evoke authentic emotions through well versed characters and distinctive settings. But others felt more like a retelling, a story told over coffee, rather than allowing me, as the reader to be completely immersed in the plot line and emotionally invested on the characters. I was moved by the characters in “The Tetariv” and “The Two”, however, and that is perhaps why I enjoyed those stories more. I am not a lover of short stories, although I like the idea of short collections, and so kudos to Ms. Jaeckel. I do feel however, that some of these stories were unfinished, leaving the reader halfway between here and nowhere. Although, for me, this wasn’t a perfect fit, there was still much to enjoy about For the Love of Meat. The author incorporates different time periods, social and cultural norms, and religious practices, honestly speaking to what makes us human, and connects us as a society in general. If short stories with a little magic tossed in are your bag, then I would recommend you checking this out.
PUBLISHER: Raincloud Press
RELEASE DATE: October 14, 2016
Available in ebook and paperback formats
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review