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Reviews

"THE title story in this book is everything fiction should be: inspiring, moving, comical, provocative and heartbreaking - and all that in just seven and a half pages. The rest of the stories in this collection are similarly remarkable. Some are also remarkably short: Go Away is, essentially, a well-told joke (and laugh-out-loud funny). Hershman's economy with words cloaks her subtlety and power, though: a second reading uncovers hidden moments in each story. Inspired by scientific progress and science journalism, including articles in New Scientist, and driven by an author dripping with talent, this is as good as modern reading gets."


"A remarkable thing about The White Road and Other Stories is that for all that there are over twenty stories in this collection, each character possesses a distinct voice, molded by childhood histories and informed with deep-rooted desires and loves. Where the story concepts begin with science, fiction becomes a laboratory for examining the most intimate secrets of the human heart," says Ilana Teitelbaum. Read the full review.

RobAroundBooks

"Lyrical in her prose, and patient in her build up, Hershman drops little caveats throughout the story which not only suggests to the reader that all is not as rosy as it seems, but that story is leading to some dramatic event..." Read the full review here

Alison Wells's Head Above Water blog

"The collection is inspired by articles from science magazines but Tania, a former science journalist, creates her own utterly original and often beautifully surreal interpretations of the science prompt. From the striking title story to the magically unusual Rainstiffiness, each story has something unexpected and weirdly wonderful.

As a reader I read in open-mouthed awe and joy, as a writer I writhed with envy. This is a must read collection...."

Read the full review here

Jim Murdoch's The Truth About Lies blog

"...I think this collection works because the flash pieces are interspersed between the longer stories. I have a few books that contain nothing but flash and I find them hard work en masse like that. So what did move me? Well for me it was the title story as I’ve said. It’s not long – 7 pages, a touch over 2000 words – but it was the perfect length for me. I recommend you read it right now. It’s online here. That way you won’t feel that I’ve ruined it for you when I talk about it. Go on. Do it just now. I’ll wait. ..."

Read the full review here


A capella Zoo


"Over the years, I’ve made an effort to become more aware of short stories and why readers tend to either love or ignore them; I’ve fallen for two types of experiences:

The first type was easy to recognize and crave: that quick pow of an image or feeling that lingers long after an investment of only minutes of reading. When I first read Tania Hershman’s The White Road and other stories, I did not feel that pow. I confess the collection bored me, and later I remembered only two or three of the longer, more developed stories.

The good news is that by the time I plucked the collection from my shelf again, I was much more open to another type of short story experience: the brief, in-the-moment pleasure that comes from beautiful prose. The White Road became engrossing on second read. The even better news is that the allure of this pleasure warmed me up to some major pows that I had somehow missed a year before. Now I can whole-heartedly recommend these stories...."

Read the full review here.

Bookmunch

"Perhaps the most satisfying element of The White Road & Other Stories (and this could be the secret key to successful short stories the world over), Hershman has a keen mind, can concoct the sort of slippery knot that hooks you, that has you turning pages to see what happens next (which is rare in short story land, or at least in the short story land I’ve visited). In ‘Brewing a Storm’, for example, a fellow called Bloomfield (the kind of fellow who rates his hotel breakfast on a scale of 1-10) learns there are drawbacks to a new device able to drive bad weather out of the sky. In ‘Evie & the Arfids’, a middle aged woman is caught up in a murky bit of industrial espionage. You read because there is no option, you have to find out what happens next....

Whether you’re a fan of short stories or not, do yourself some good and get hold of a copy of Tania Hershman’s The White Road & Other Stories. If enough of us do that, then maybe Salt will ask her for another collection and that would be a very good thing indeed.

Read the full review here.

John Lloyd in The BookBag (5 Star Review)


"Let me assure ysou that what small sense there is of the strange in these many short stories is instantly quashed by the strong sense of a writer grounded firmly in reality, and finding big truths in amongst the little details of life...This collection is one of those rare instances of a sustained brilliance, introducing to me a true artist with a high degree of quality control

Read the full review here.

Roxane Gay on PANK magazine's blog

"The eponymous story of this collection is worth the price of admission. It is, without a doubt, one of the best short stories I’ve ever read. A woman, at the end of the world, who has endured the loss of a child but more than that, seen his dead body, that death from his own hand, and so she finds a way to see nothing but bright white ever again. I was genuinely moved and shocked by this story. So remarkable.....The one constant through each of these stories is the care Hershman has taken with her characters. This was a collection that was written with love.

Read the full review here.

Dominique Wilson in Wet Ink Issue 14 March 2009

"This collection exemplifies everything that is best about the short story. With succinctness rarely seen in the work of someone new to fiction, Hershman extracts the very essence of a moment to reveal the poignant fragility of human relationships. ...Extremes of weather is a recurring theme, as is parenthood, but each story is so different from the next that you are tempted to read 'just one more' until you find you have read the whole book in one sitting. "

Sally Zigmond's Book Blog

In her review, Sally Zigmond says: "As I now read more novels than short stories, I had expected to prefer the longer stories in this collection to the flash fiction (as some reviewers have) but to me the longer ones were either too long or too short--not quite right for this Goldilocks. The flash fiction, on the other hand, I loved for its brevity, its inventiveness and its poetic quality....

Heart is one such moment. It is probably the shortest story in the collection but it has stayed with me the longest because I am still there with that heart in my hand and then the cold wine glass. I feel what the surgeon feels. I am her. I don't need any more. I don't want any more."

Read the full review here.

Matt Bell

"The White Road is a very fine collection, containing enough wonder and humor and heartbreak to overflow its slim pages, forcing the reader to share in the great emotion contained within. Hershman's talent is obvious, and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow across whatever new stories and new books might follow this excellent start."

Read the full review here.

Nicola Morgan

(posted on Facebook)

"Just started reading Tania Hershman's The White Road and other stories, and is blown away by the originality and piercing prose. And for someone who doesn't normally choose short stories, that's very special."

Jeremy Page, The Frogmore Papers, Issue 73

The short short story is Hershman’s preferred form, and there are some very short shorts in this, her debut collection. For the most part her experiments are a resounding success – in fact, for this reader, she is at her most effective when at her most concise. ‘I am a camera’ comprises two short paragraphs which say everything that needs to be said, no more, no less.

Find out more about The Frogmore Papers.

Front&Centre

"Many of Hershman’s stories dwell on loss, despair, frailty and weakness – on the human drive to face these obstacles and overcome them or at least carry on living in their wake. Hershman adds more variety by countering the science-inspired stories with flash fiction, most of it lighter, more humorous fare. “Heavy Bones”, for example, is a quick, amusing look about reversing roles on a wedding night tradition. The White Road may not be hard-hitting short fiction but it shows there is more than one way for writers to separate their work from the pack of safe and boring mainstream writing. Props to Hershman for showing readers that not all short fiction is dull and formulaic. "

 

Jen Michalksi in The JMWW Journal Winter Issue 2008/9

"Hershman's other strength is her ability to keep the reader on her toes. She weaves the warbly, neon threads of magical realism together with the steel rods of science, and the effect often is very satisfying. In ths story "Self-Rising," a woman whose career in the laboratory is derailed by the arrival of marriage and children opens a cake business that specializes in "lab cakes," cakes shaped like DNA or test tubes or petri dishes. Despite the seeming-cliched "making lemondade out of lemons" plot, Hershman crafts an ending that is both fantastical and touching. "Sunspots" and "Rainstiffness" are equally imaginative and lovely.

Read the full review here.

"This collection of short stories takes as its theme the edgy and sometimes difficult relationship between humanity and science. There is a great deal of energy about the stories, as well as a strong and distinctive voice. Not all main characters are sympathetic but, then again, they're not meant to be - and each one does have a gripping issue to raise or an arresting tale to tell. ..."

Read the full review here.

Pulp.net

The 27 stories collected here are short, but full of feeling. Weather is important, catastrophic, extreme. It rains and the rain causes paralysis, the sun is blinding, lightning strikes. The other recurrent theme is that of being a parent: women who fear for their unborn child, loathe their child, resent them, or mourn the child they cannot have, who will do anything for a baby. Hershman has a talent for concision, and her tiny flash fictions ‘Plaits’ and ‘Go Away’ encapsulate entire relationships in just over a page. A clever, warm and thoroughly recommended debut. –Sara Crowley

LabLit: But if it were real, by Amy Charles   


"Hershman is an interested, dreaming science observer who pays serious and at times myopic attention to sci-tech news stories and considers what they might mean...."

Read the full review here.

"Very enjoyable. ... The themes cover parenthood (or lack of it), loss, and some aspect of science (usually), these elements are blended well with elegance and grace. Many are set in cold climates but the book as a whole has a warm and cheering heart."

"This slim volume ... contains stories with colour, life, passion, precision and pathos. The shortest is just half a page but it packs a terrific punch. You could read the whole collection in one sitting but I recommend taking your time, allowing the stories to sink in, get under your skin and sing."