The Unremarkable Heart and Other Stories by Karin Slaughter
Genre: Short Stories
Publication Date: 2012
Length: 4 hours, 13 minutes
Read by: Shannon Cochran
The Short Version:
A collection of six short stories by one of my favorite mystery/suspense authors.
Why I Read It:
When I read that the story The Unremarkable Heart won an Edgar award this year I decided to see if I could find it. My library had this audio available so I decided to give it a try.
This book contains 6 short stories. Each of them features a woman or girl at a crossroads in her life.
Cold Cold Heart finds Pam driving across country two years after the death of her husband. She recalls their life together and why after all the horrible things he put her through she seeks her final revenge.
Necessary Women begins as what seems to be a story of survival and overcoming obstacles but takes a sudden and disturbing turn.
The Blessing of Brokenness is about Mary Lou Dixon, who works at Christ Holiness Church. As she’s overseeing the repair of the sanctuary’s cross, she reflects on her own life. She compares the teachings of her Lay Pastor uncle who preached that brokenness is a blessing because you can be repaired and be stronger with those of the church’s current minister who preaches the fear of becoming broken. As Mary Lou’s past is revealed the outcome of the story becomes clear before the story actually ends.
The Mean Time is about a twelve year old girl who is at what she later recalls as her ‘mean time’ of life. Her uncle is taking her and her cousins into town where she’ll learn the meaning of regret.
The Truth About Pretty Girls is what Jude Hanson is thinking about. She’s in her 40’s and has returned to the home town in Georgia she never thought she’d see again.
The Unremarkable Heart is the story that won an Edgar Award. It’s about June who is dying of lung cancer. Her husband is caring for her in her last days. Her memories of her past and her expectations of the process of dying are all she has left except for perhaps a final bit of truth.
All of these stories feature strong women of varying ages. They are all at an important moment or crossroads in their lives.
Karin Slaughter can write downright disturbing stuff and while not all of these stories have a gruesome or twisted element, most of them do so consider yourself forewarned.
I found a couple of these (Necessary Women and The Unremarkable Heart) particularly difficult to listen to. Both left me reeling and quite disturbed.
This was the first time I’d listened to Shannon Cochran. I’m not an expert in Southern accents but this collection of stories required her to attempt a variety of them and I know that’s not an easy task. I would definitely listen to her again.
Rating 4/5 for the book
Rating 4.5/5 for the narration
SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.