Thursday, August 9, 2012

TLC Book Tour: Diving Belles by Lucy Wood



Magical, mythical, a little quirky, sometimes creepy, and just plain fun!

Diving Belles, an engaging new short story collection by Lucy Wood, grabbed me from the opening passage:
"Iris crossed her brittle ankles and folded her hands in her lap as the diving bell creaked and juddered towards the sea. At first, she could hear Demelza  shouting and cursing as she cranked the winch, but the as bell was cantilevered away from the deck her voice was lost in the wind. Cold air rushed through the open bottom of the bell, bringing with it the rusty smell of The Matriarch's liver-spotted flanks and the brackish damp of seaweed. The bench Iris was sitting on was narrow and every time the diving bell rocked she pressed against the footrest to steady herself.  She kept imagining that she was inside a church bell and that she was the clapper about to ring out loudly into the water, announcing something. She fixed her eyes on the small window and didn't look down. There was no floor beneath her feet, just a wide open gap and the sea peaked and spat. She lurched downwards slowly, metres away from the side of the trawler, where a layer of barnacles and mussels clung on like the survivors of a shipwreck."
The collection features women turning to stone, husbands disappearing with mermaids, a house with an attitude, leprechauns, and more. It's no wonder Wood has been compared to Angela Carter. My natural tendency is to breeze through a collection like this in a single day, and this peaceful hotel balcony in Lake Placid proved to be an ideal reading spot. However, I'd recommend that you dole the stories out over several days, or even a week, instead. You'll enjoy returning to Lucy Wood's wonderfully weird world again and again.






Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. The complete tour schedule for Diving Belles is here.

18 comments:

  1. I like the sound of the magical in this one. Plus, there's a character called Iris. I think I may need to read this ;)

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    1. Iris - I usually run from anything that even hints of 'magical realism', but this mythic magic worked well for me. Hope you get a chance to enjoy it, too!

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  2. "... a house with an attitude ..." That right there makes me want to read it!

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    1. Terri B. - Who would have thought a house could have so much personality? This was both fun and fantastical... not at all like my usual reading fare.

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  3. I loved that opening passage...wow. I wasn't familiar with this one until your post.

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  4. Diane - This is such an unusual story collection. Hope you get a chance to experience it for yourself!

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  5. I was all excited until I saw the words "short story collection." Somehow, that's never that appealing to me. However, the cover is adorable!

    (Also...love the mug!)

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    1. Softdrink - Isn't that cover great? Still wishing I bought one of those souvenir mugs...

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  6. I'm anxious to read this one. I do like some magical realism, especially if it's grounded in good characters.

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    1. Amy - It's funny because magical realism really isn't my thing, yet it worked so well here.

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  7. I can see that this would be an easy book to read straight through, so thanks for the suggestion to take it slow - it sounds like the book is better appreciated over several days.

    Thanks for being on the tour!

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    1. Thanks, Heather. This is definitely one to slow down and enjoy.

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  8. The opening paragraph you posted is wonderful! It gives a sense of the odd, quirky world the author writes about. I'd usually read books about magical realism but these stories sound too good to pass up and it also sounds as if the magical realism is only a small part of some wonderful stories.

    Thank you for this terrific review!

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    1. Amy - I usually avoid all sorts of magic in books, but this was a lot of fun!

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  9. I'm so pleased you liked this - I was thrilled to find such a wonderful author from my home county and she captures what makes it special brilliantly.

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    1. FleurFisher - I remember reading your review several months ago - it helped me decide to be on the tour. Sorry your comment didn't appear immediately, for some reason Blogger sent you to spam :-(

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  10. I like weird and quirky so this sounds fun. I have yet to read a collection of stories!!!

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    1. Staci - Short stories aren't everyone's cup of tea. I do like to break up my reading with a story here and there, but I rarely read a collection straight through.

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