I have just started reading A.L. Kennedy’s books and I can say with guarantee that I will not stop at two. The first one I read was, “The Blue Book” which left me speechless and breathless. The second one which I have just finished reading is, “All the Rage” – a collection of short stories by her and this one according to me was better than the novel for sure. More so, because I have this soft corner for short stories.
The stories are burning with passion – and yet so subtle that the words will break your heart. There is sex, there is this all-consuming rage and then there are moments of peace and wonder. A.L. Kennedy manages to fit in everything – and the collection sure has a great punch to it as well.
The title story is about a marriage falling apart at a railway station – waiting for the train to arrive. My favourite was the story about a woman who has seemed to have lost it all and walks through the aisle of a sex emporium with an electric penis in her hand. A middle-aged woman goes into town with her older lover, who will pay her debt and then move in with her. It is beautiful. I mean the power of words which Kennedy uses here is something else. You only have to read it to believe what a writer can be capable of.
A.L. Kennedy’s stories make you sit up and perhaps make you also want to be in those situations. That is the way she writes – expecting or rather demanding the full attention of the reader – another level of involvement altogether and nothing less than that.
There are times of comedy. There are times of tragedy. It is almost the author’s style of writing is dichotomist and she takes great pride in that as well. The stories are about brief, damaged loves. In every story of the twelve that she has written – that is the underline theme. “All the Rage” is a collection that will make you look at love a little differently and maybe it will be worth it.