sex and death book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

A substantial anthology of 20 stories by both American and European authors, Sex and Death is a short story collection edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs, writers of both short story and novel. They both reside in Great Britain and have published widely. Many of the authors within are well-established and award-winning such as Kevin Barry (“City of Bohane”) and Ali Smith, a Scottish author of many short story collections and novels such as “How to be Both” that was released in 2016.

The stories of the book all revolve around the centric themes of sex and death and how each of these events/emotions drive us through life. The stories are all deeply human and you’ll no doubt relate to many of them. Though the voices vary greatly, as well as the characters and experiences, the deeply personal connections and depth of character is a thread that runs throughout.

Both editors are also featured within the collection. In Hall’s (editor) piece, “Evie,” the story focuses on a woman who is undergoing a severe personality transformation that causes strain between her husband and his best friend. Hobbs’s (editor) story, “In the Reactor,” is a sort of day in the life of a naïve character who lives inside of a nuclear reactor compound.

The stories take the reader from Cape Town to London, the coast of Spain and into Canada. Each story is very strong, very well-edited and well-written. Claire Vaye Watkins contributes a piece, “10-Item Post-Partum Depression Scale” about a mother who struggles with her post-birth body and postpartum depression.  In, “Where Hast Though Been,” a group of friends meet and become friends with God. And in yet another story, a group of three men who make up a scale modelers club are shaken up by a woman’s arrival. The stories each have an interesting twist, a different perspective and turn on the main themes of sex and death.

The collection has something for everyone and it’s put together in away that will keep you reading story after story. Sex and Death is a great anthology to have on your shelves.

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Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.