Monday, March 10, 2014

Reader's Diary #1102- Lori Hahnel: Beware of God

March is Alberta Short Story Month here at the Book Mine Set and today's, "Beware of God," is from Lori Hahnel, published in 2004 at Plum Ruby Review.

With a title like "Beware of God," you're probably expecting either something really heavy or something wickedly funny. I'll not mince words here, "Beware of God" is far from funny. It's heavy, but not in the philosophical jargon sort of way (though it will probably make most readers think). It's heavy in the sad, depressing sort of way. It's hard to avoid spoilers with this one, so I suggest you stop and go read it now if you plan to. Come back when you're done.

"Beware of God," reminded me somewhat of Carol Shields' Unless, though it's been a while since I read that one, so I can't say with any certainty that they really have much in common. It's about a mother, looking for answers where perhaps there are none. Looking maybe to lay blame. Needing to. You can really feel the inner turmoil the narrator is going through. Hahnel is slow with the details, and it's a bit of a mystery what it's all about, so when I started to figure it out, I was more invested in the character and felt her pain and confusion. Beautifully written, tragic story.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

It sounds like the kind of story that one needs chocolates for. To balance out the brain chemicals.

Anonymous said...

I'm always happy to see Carol Shields name mentioned somewhere. I really hope her work lasts. I'm a big fan.

Comparing this one to Unless has me interested. Unless was a wonderful little book.