Big Cats

Published By: Free Press

Book Category: Fiction, Short Stories

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Reviewed by Andrea Sisco

Every once in a while a nugget of gold crops up in the short story collections published each year. My gold nugget is Big Cats by Holiday Reinhorn.

Reinhorn writes simply delicious dramas of "real life" and "real people" who are full-bodied, rich, multi-dimensional complex beings with complex stories. It is her talent that makes the complex, simple. She alternates between humor, sadness, poignancy and tenderness in a way that shouts out that she has developed her voice and speaks it with strength and commitment. I love the way her writing seeps into my consciousness and makes me live what she writes. Each story has its own drama to breathe life into the story, capturing its soul.

The title story, "Big Cats," of this collection is about two young girls who work concessions at a zoo. They fight outside the lions' cage, attempting to be the "big cats" they aren't as yet. The author fixes her sights on the girls' minds and captures their spirit.

I love "My Name"! It is the story of a Vietnam vet who's lived in his own prison, so he understands and emphasizes with the catatonic woman he cares for and who calls him by her son's name. Though brief it is the connection the lonely man yearns for and is expressed with absolute tenderness.

Some years ago Reinhorn wrote the screenplay for the film Last Seen. Being familiar with the film it was wonderful to read the story that birthed it. It is about the mysterious disappearance of high school senior Jennifer Langsam.

Armchair Interviews says: Reinhorn's collection is one that should not be passed up. Read the stories discussed and all of the others and savor the flavors of life.

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