Sunday, November 17, 2019
From Sea to Stormy Sea edited by Lawrence Block
Several years ago, Lawrence Block had an idea for an anthology, In Sunlight or in Shadow, "Stories Inspired by Edward Hopper's Paintings". In the next collection, Alive in Shape and Color, he invited authors to choose a painting by a favorite artist, and write a story influenced by that work.This time, Block offered authors thirty paintings to choose from. Sixteen authors, plus Block, wrote stories for this collection. Readers will find diverse pieces from authors such as Tom Franklin, Jane Hamilton, Gary Phillips, and John Sandford.
As in any anthology, some pieces stand out more than others. And, tastes differ, so my preferences may not be yours. Sara Paretsky's "Baptism in Kansas" has a powerful ending. I liked John Sandford's "Girl with an Ax". Inspired by "Hollywood" by Thomas Hart Benton, this one is not a violent crime story. Brendan DuBois picked Winslow Homer's "Diamond Shoal" for his story "Adrift Off the Diamond Shoals", an account of the opportunity for revenge during a hurricane. Patti Abbott, Charles Ardai, and Jan Burke wrote intriguing stories.
Actually, From Sea to Stormy Sea is one of the strongest anthologies I've read in the last couple years. The addition of the colored artwork will make this one a keeper.
From Sea to Stormy Sea: 17 Stories Inspired by Great American Paintings, edited by Lawrence Block. Pegasus Books, 2019. ISBN 9781643130828 (hardcover), 272p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.