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December 08, 2004

Samantha Hunt's Holiday Gift Suggestion

by Ron Hogan

samhunt.jpgSamantha Hunt is a writer and artist who lives in New York. Her first novel, The Seas, was published last month by MacAdam/Cage, and she recently went on a reading tour with several other debut writers. If you live in Brooklyn, you can see her tomorrow night (December 9th) at the Pratt Institute Library, and she'll be reading at Junno's in Manhattan later this month.

"It was midwinter. Everything was dead." A holiday story needs little more to recommend itself to me then the above opening line. So begins an offering from Scottish writer Ali Smithís collection The Whole Story and Other Stories. In the true seasonal spirit three drunken women stumble into Midnight Mass tangling themselves up in Catholicismís finest: miraculous pregnancies, altar boys, fruit baskets, and the ghost of a woman who sat each night for a year upon the grave of her dead husband, waiting for his resurrection. Merry Christmas! Like Smithís excellent novel, Hotel World, a number of her stories switch points of view faster than a mad remote controller could change the channel. There's the woman who falls in love with a tree, a troupe of bagpipers who invade strangers' homes, an artist making a boat from used Great Gatsbys, and a commuter who skirts death by telling him, "I can't stop now. I'm on the phone." Smithís story collection is populated with characters guaranteed to help you forget your own holiday cast of shrieking Republican uncles and nieces ripe with puberty.
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