This is my review of Marylee MacDonald’s new book, Bonds of Love and Blood, a collection of award-winning short stories.
These are powerful stories pulsing with life, going deep into the veins, the heart and head. I haven’t read such muscular prose in years. Some of the stories are visceral, others take a longer view. They deal with the divides between men and women, young and old, Western and Asian cultures. The misunderstandings in these divides are clearly shown in the characters’ actions and thoughts. At the same time, it is in exploring the chasm that greater understanding occurs. What seems to be compromise often comes from this glimpse into the other’s needs and intentions. It’s important for us to adventure into these “in-between” spaces if we want to gain a better perspective on ourselves and the world around us, in other words, to improve as human beings.
Bonds of love and blood help us bridge the divides. These stories show how we create bonds and nurture them in spite of, and because of, the barriers. The characters embody the question: when the bonds threaten to become chains, how can we transform them into life-affirming connections that free us to be who we really are. An enriching read!