Yes, you got me at guinea pig. Don’t worry, there is only one guinea pig in this collection of stories. But there are also dogs, cats, and possibly sheep. Thank you to Barb Taub for inspiring her U3A group and encouraging them to write – the outcome is wonderful.
The Wife, The Mistress, and the Guinea Pig: & Other Stories
Edited by Barb Taub
Write what you know? For our group of writers on the magically beautiful Scottish Isle of Arran, that means combining the things we’ve been, the things we imagine, and the things we know. From that we offer tales of friendship, love, adventure, and the emotional intelligence of guinea pigs. [goodreads]
If you have ever been part of a writing group, especially a community based one, you’ll know that writing skills vary widely. What Barb Taub did was to ‘join’ a writing group on the Isle of Arran, and become its de facto organiser. All credit to her, therefore, for not only encouraging her group to turn their nervously shared-with-each-other pieces into a lovely volume of work, but also, for the quality, which is excellent.
People write what they know. There are tales of island life, tales of sharing a sailing boat with people who have never been afloat before (so well observed!). We also hear of encounters with village life in other parts of the country, where proprieties are very different from what you might be used to. (I must stay away from that village).
Each author has their work grouped together, which allows the reader to relax into their style, and also get to ‘know’ the author better. I liked that a lot. It gave such a great rhythm to the whole anthology. Also, I could see the prompts coming through – this week we’re going to attempt poetry on a theme of… I applaud all the authors. I don’t often do poetry, and when I do, it’s dire. To have the courage to present it to your peers is one thing. Barb was wise to ensure it was included it the book. It’s beautiful.
I have plenty of favourites among these stories. I particularly liked one near the end, tracing the history of a local cottage, which appeared to be the centre for healing a long time ago, and came into its own once more as viruses did the rounds once again. The people and settings were just glorious.
And of course, I loved the first one, demonstrating the emotional intelligence of the guinea pig. I think mine would endorse that.