Discovering a new book has always held a special thrill for me, but I must confess that I have an odd way of finding them. Typically, I will pick a novel with an intriguing sounding title, then open to a random chapter and read a few pages. If that small glimpse into that new world is enough to grab my attention and makes me want to know more, then that book goes home with me. I was both surprised and elated to discover that Kristen Tsetsi‘s short story collection, Carol’s Aquarium is comprised of just such literary glimpses. Each one of the stories presented here brings you into a state of mind that is already in progress; there is no preamble, no bow-tying conclusion, and that is both satisfying and monumentally frustrating at the same time.
The frustrating part of Carol’s Aquarium is that each story presented herein leaves you desperately wanting to know more. Who are these characters? What lead them to where they are when we encounter them and what will they do after we leave them? You will ask these questions over and over again for each tale and you will find yourself re-reading each one repeatedly. And then you’ll find something quite astonishing happening. Your opinion and ideas and thoughts about what is going on in each story will keep changing. Ultimately, just like real life, what you are perceiving in these little snapshots of moments is not what you originally witnessed. And that leads to the satisfying part.
I have no doubt that each one of these stories is drawn from a moment in time from the life of Kristen Tsetsi, whether they are shockingly true or re-purposed for a fictional event. But what sets Tsetsi apart from most writers is her ability to present such raw, emotional moments in a way that allows you to frame it and personalize it in regards to your own life and experiences. The clever thing is, you don’t even realize you’re doing it until about your fourth read through. This makes Tsetsi’s writing not only timeless, but also creates a rather unique and personal author-reader bond that is rare. There are few books that you will treasure and want to revisit the way you will with Carol’s Aquarium and that, along with the clarity and uniqueness of style are what also make this an important literary work.
Buy Carol’s Aquarium right now as an ebook at either Amazon or Smashwords. This is a perfect introduction to the wonderfully fresh and honest writing style of Kristen Tsetsi. Her previous book, Homefront, is being retitled as Pretty Much True… and being republished soon and this will prepare you for that. You will be reading more from Kristen Tsetsi in the future, so now is the perfect time to discover her.