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Squinting Over Water

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Short Stories by Mary Kennedy Eastham There are no perfect people here. The characters in "Squinting over Water" are you and me trying to make sense of things - good and bad - coming up with a Plan B when life gets messy. One early reader said she would walk across continents to get to this book. These whimsical stories transformed her, made her believe once again in the true beauty and playfulness of life.

"She doesn't sugarcoat things. This is one talented writer." --"Kurt Vonnegut, Author "Cat's Cradle," "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Breakfast of Champions""

"You can't stop thinking about Eastham's characters like 16 year old Rebecca Louise in "After The Dance." Raised by her single mother, she longs to get to know John Monroe, her father, the man who wasn't ready for parenthood when she was born but who now wants to meet her. And then there's poor Harry in "Cat's Eyes," sipping cheap champagne, watching his mother patch together the few strands of hair on Husband Number Five's head with those long, lean fingers of his childhood. Johanna Dane is losing the daylight in "Delicato" as she searches for her twin brother Mica, missing after a devastating flood in their small, sweet town of Dane's Crossing. There are mood-tints bursting forth here, a poignant sense of time's passage that Hollywood Indie sadcore crooner Lana Del Ray would magically rework into a dreamy song. These two creatives need to meet." --"The San Francisco WE'RE NOT SKINNY BITCHES Book Club"

"About the Author: "

Mary Kennedy Eastham, M.A., MFA has had the good fortune of growing up in a small New England town. She spread her wings and moved to New York City, San Francisco and Malibu which is where many of these stories took shape. Her first book, The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget, now in its Fifth Printing, was a 2011 WILD CARD winner in the Hollywood Book Festival and a 2010 Celebrity Achiever Award winner. Mary has been awarded over $25,000 in Literary Awards.

146 pages, Paperback

First published September 12, 2012

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Mary Kennedy Eastham

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Martha Jette.
Author 10 books4 followers
May 30, 2013
Squinting Over Water offers Vignettes on Life

By Mary Kennedy Eastham
© 2012
Robertson Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61170-093-0

Author Mary Kennedy Eastham begins her book with a back-story about losing some of her writing due to a computer glitch. She could not simply forget them and move on. Then one day a woman handed her a fortune cookie saying that if she wished upon a star, she’d receive everything she wanted. The following day, her puppy was playing with a tennis ball that rolled into a closet. Much to her surprise and delight, in that closet she found those missing stories among a pile of Christmas ornaments.

I tell this for one very good reason. Just like those lost stories, Eastman offers up a series of vignettes that each contain a hidden jewel – a message that may have become lost on you – a message that runs deep within, without her actually saying it – that you can use to change your own life for the better.

For instance, in the chapter entitled Cat’s Eyes, a son grapples with feelings of intense loss, his mother having left his father just months after his birth. Now preparing for her fifth marriage, the son arrives with a deep-set resentment against a mother who seemed more concerned with savoring every moment of life rather than being a dotting mother. However, he soon learns how swiftly life can end, leaving only the Cats Eyes that he played with as a child, as the only reminder of what is truly important.

Each story gives us a peek into someone else’s life – just for a moment in time – each including a profound message but don’t worry. This is not a collection of ‘poor me’ tales. Eastham’s quick wit eases the tension and reminds us that laughter is also vital in our lives.

When you read Squinting Over Water, take your time to let each message sink into your soul. Only then will you realize the true value of Eastham’s thought provoking work. A number of her stories have won literary awards.

Squinting Over Water is available at various on-line bookstores, including Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Squinting-Over-... in paperback and Kindle.

Web Site of Mary Kennedy Eastham: http://www.rp-author.com/MKE

Mary’s Blog: http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/2010/12...

Mary’s View on Writing: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/conten...

Mary’s Writing Tips: http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/conten...
Profile Image for Morgan Wyatt.
Author 19 books315 followers
November 4, 2013
Back when I was in college, my professor told me the time of short stories was over. I was never quite sure why. Now is the perfect time for short stories. We rush about multi-tasking with only minutes between errands or before falling asleep. Novels are becoming significantly shorter giving rise to the novella. The short story can convey an emotion or concept in a few pages. It can take you on a trip in minutes as opposed to hours. It doesn't require a great commitment the way a novel does. It is the literary quickie. It is not surprising Alice Munro won the Pulitzer because her stories resonate. The short story, the literary stepchild, is the part that shocks most people about Ms. Munro's win. With all that said, allow me to introduce you to a short story collection, Squinting over Water, by Mary Kennedy Eastham.

Ms. Eastham examines ordinary people caught in everyday dilemmas. She uses small snippets from their lives and shines a light on it. This illumination of the mundane turns it into an insight, an epiphany. It is also reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher who excelled at this the use of a moment to explain everything.

The stories deal with a seemingly frivolous mother who never has time for her own child, the conflict between divorce parents over a dress for their daughter, a brother and sister separated by a flood, a woman who wonders if she is pregnant and so much more. To say much more would give the stories away.

The lengths are short and easy to read. The prose is beautiful and has the feel of poetry or an artist painting a scene with words instead of oils. Please take time to indulge yourself with this small gem of a book.

Squinting over Water is more than a bundle of entertaining tales. It is the start of a conversation about the human condition and why we do the things, we do. Two thumbs up.
Profile Image for Meg - A Bookish Affair.
2,445 reviews191 followers
February 4, 2013
It's books like "Squinting Over Water" that are really continuing to open me up to reading more short stories. In the past, I haven't really liked to read too many short stories because I sometimes have the fear that a short story, which can only cover so much ground, is going to leave me unfulfilled and wanting more. This book most definitely does not fall into that category! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author, Ms. Eastham has a the art of packing a punch in a short amount of time down to a most perfect science.

Some of the stories in this book deal with some pretty serious subject matter. I really enjoyed all of the stories but there were a handful that were real standouts to me (What He Left was my absolute favorite out of all of the stories). The subjects are completely different but they were so good and so well written. What He Left is only a couple pages long but totally blew my usual fears about short stories and being unsatisfied far, far away. I really don't want to give anything away so I'm not even going to give you a synopsis of what the story is actually about but know that it is a really, really hard subject that would be difficult for anyone to write or talk about. I was thoroughly impressed the way that Eastham is able to tell a full, really well detailed story in such a short amount of space. There were some turns of phrase that were really fantastic. I know they are going to stick to me for a really The story definitely made me a little teary.

This book would be a fantastic pick for anyone who is looking for a serious well written read. After seeing and falling in love with the magic that Eastham wove in this book, I would love to read more by her in the future!
Profile Image for Tilia.
Author 5 books73 followers
March 30, 2013
This short story collection has real strengths, with an impressive range of characters and situations. In "After the Dance," we meet a single mother who's aghast when her ex wanders back into her life, establishing himself with his previously unknown teenage daughter now that the work of raising her is mainly done. Where's the justice there? In an equally engaging tale, the narrator of "Soft Spots" tries to come to terms with being pregnant. Turns out she isn't, but whoopsie, her best friend is. There is much to chew on here. This is a book that lingers on the palate after the last page is read.
Profile Image for Mary Kincaid.
Author 12 books30 followers
August 6, 2014

Hauntingly poetic short stories about people struggling to make sense of their world. They may not always succeed but they do keep plugging along. I enjoyed the descriptive ability of the author to place me there in the scene.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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