Women I know by Katerina Gibson

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Award-winning short story writer Katerina Gibson has put together a mixed collection of intriguing stories about women, women dealing with modern life, interacting with technology and facing climate change. Less stories, and more snapshots of life, many will leave you pondering unsettling ideas and situations: a woman perfecting her social media algorithm, vegan arguments, an assembly-line worker inserting eyes into dolls, a woman juggling the tight schedule of her life and her daughter’s anorexia, a woman losing her identity to another self, another woman unbottling overwhelming anger.

Gibson uses a variety of short story formats, from the stream of consciousness monologue, to a rather one-sided conversation, a social media blog with its ‘likes’, to a flowing stream of text, to diary pages. ‘Intermission I’ is a collection of beginning sentences for many story ideas, the beginnings of many recognisable plotlines with twisted variations.

Some stories are easier to read than others; the variety means that there will always be something that will capture attention. Each reader will find their favourites. For me the final story ‘As the nation mourns’ was a stand-out, about an ecologist who gradually comes to the realisation that her sponsor has motives that undermine all that she has worked for. It raises questions about the best response to conservation in the time of climate change, but also presents issues of identity and self-assertion.

Although Gibson has had stories and articles published before, Women I know is the first published collection. Hopefully, there will be many more.

Themes: Short stories, Women, Modern life.

Helen Eddy