Recommendation: BUY IT NOW! Don’t even finish reading this review. Run to your local bookstore and get one before I make it over there, because I seriously will buy every single copy of this book, put them in a warehouse and keep all the magic for myself. Don’t try me.
So. This collection of short stories is completely and ridiculously amazing. You need to read it. And if you’re thinking, “Oh, I don’t read short story collections. They’re too unfocused/random/incomplete,” then you need to stop thinking. Because you’re wrong. Wrong in general, but especially wrong in this case. And besides, it’s the 21st century—you have ADD and a twenty page story is longer than you can pay attention for, anyways.
On the surface, Spectacle‘s stories investigate the lives of young women trying to find their place in a male-oriented society, which already sounds a tad philosophical, but it’s true subject is even more intense. What this book actually brings into focus is the limitations of societal roles and what those societal roles even mean to the people that fill them. It is just so powerful, so incredible. But, be careful. This book will make you think. It might even make you think so hard that you send an angst-riddled existential email to someone you’re crushing on. Or, so I hear.
Even if you aren’t in the mood for a philosophical thinker of a book, there are plenty of reasons to go wild over Spectacle. The writing is otherworldly and Steinberg is in no way frightened to experiment with form, creating some stories that are incredibly unique but still able to resonate on a personal level. Names are pretty sparse in the collection but, however the characters refer to themselves, they come alive on the page in every way you want them to, wriggling and writhing against the momentum of their lives.
Now even though I’m in love with this book, there is an aspect of it that I simply don’t have the experience to really analyze. That is how well Steinberg captures the reality of being a young woman in today’s society. This book is written by a woman, and it deals exclusively with female characters and, since I am not a woman, I flat-out cannot determine how true a picture Steinberg paints. So, I call to you, dear female readers of this fledgling blog, please read this collection of short stories (or, if you know me, ask to borrow it) and comment on this review with your feelings/thoughts/complaints/compliments about it. I desperately await your opinions (guys are welcome to comment too, of course).
I’ll keep moving along The Road to my next review.