by D. K. Cassidy
Review by Barry Boy
Curious Reality by D. K. Cassidy is part of the much-acclaimed Spilt Milk series.is not really a novel but a collection of short stories about a group of oddballs who are linked by their tenuous relationship with each other and their more intimate, professional, relationships with their mutual psychiatrist, Dr. Tine.
Some of the chapters involve two, three or even more of the five main characters interacting, but some involve only one. Then there are the doctor and the robot who also have their roles.
We are told by Miss Cassidy that in Curious Reality “Each brief story deliberately distils a life’s essence”. Well, I’m not sure about that, it seems a rather grand claim to make, except that the stories are short, but then so is the book, and herein lies one of my criticisms: I enjoyed Curious Reality, but found it far too short. It only took me two hours to read it, and I am not a particularly fast reader.
Other problems I had with Curious Reality were also minor and perhaps more personal.
In a chapter called ‘Joy’, after a character, we are told that a huge bunch of flowers was delivered, but that Joy arranged them in an old wine bottle… and later in the same chapter that her boss-to -be handed her his fountain pen with a flourish, so that she could sign the contract. I do not know anyone who uses a fountain pen that would willingly lend it out, especially to a stranger, but then, perhaps that’s why he’s in this book of nutters.
Ignoring the pluperfect tense or using it in a random fashion, only occasionally, is common in American novels, but it annoyes me.
As I wrote above, I enjoyed Curious Reality, but can only give it four stars out of five because of its anomalies, use of tense and brevity.
I wish that Curious Reality had been longer, because I liked it.