“Enchantment” by Thaisa Frank — author of “Heidegger’s Glasses” that local book reviewer Savvy Verse & Wit said, “was more than a philosophical journey, it takes a look at how the ordinary can become extraordinary” — is a collection of short stories that offers a variety of perspectives on the real and imagined, and some stories have a more other-worldly feel to them than others. Each story wears a mask of beauty and fantasy in which the characters take journeys or dream of traveling to cover up the heartbreak and dissatisfaction with their lives.
Frank’s prose is beautiful and mysterious, and her characters are genuine and real, even the vampire from “The Loneliness of the Midwestern Vampire.” Each story has an undercurrent of longing as each character searches for a connection to something or someone, and in some cases, there is a longing to repair even broken connections as a means of regaining some of that lost sense of wonder that most of us feel when a connection is first made.
Starting out the collection are some more fanciful stories, like “Thread,” “Enchantment,” and The Girl with Feet That Could See,” but further into the collection the stories are less fanciful and less playful and more realistic, like “Henna” and “Postcards.” However, the real gem of the collection is the collection of stories within the collection — a series of stories — that make up “The Mapmaker.” These stories or vignettes told from a single point of view focus on one family and its most intimate secrets, like who made the map that hangs in the father’s study and was it really the narrator’s grandfather. There is even a story that touches on the manipulative nature of children when adults have a secret they don’t want others to know and of course, there is the overarching story of families and communication and how broken it all becomes. In this section of the collection, it is clear that Frank is a novelist and in many ways, these stories could become their own full-fledged novel.
“Enchantment” by Thaisa Frank straddles the world between the real and the imagined as her characters try to capture some of that awe that we often feel as children about life and to connect with others in the deepest way possible. Savvy Verse & Wit says, “Frank is a talented writer with a firm grasp of characterization and storytelling, and while not all of the stories feel complete, they all will transport readers to another world, another time, and another place in the hope that they will once again become captivated with their own lives.”
“Enchantment” by Thaisa Frank can by purchased at your local bookstore, like Novel Places, and on Amazon. For those interested in joining a short-story discussion on Sept. 18, 2012, Savvy Verse & Wit is giving away four copies of Frank’s collection, here.