I recently received Sarahland from Grand Central Publishing (thank you!), and it was a delightfully weird and wild adventure. My favourite kind.
Sarahland is a collection of short stories about Sarahs. Each story stars a Sarah. Each of them goes through a personal journey over the course of their story, deviating from their expected narratives. This collection is queer as heck, and I loved each of the Sarahs, their differences, and their similarities.
This is a book that sidelines tradition, questions our expectations of ourselves, and shows both the good and and bad sides of being selfish. I really enjoyed the collection, each story on its own and the overall themes across the whole.
Personality wise, many of the Sarahs felt quite similar, but, they each bring something unique to their story regardless. Each Sarah exists in a different set of circumstances and realities, so while their decisions, or the reasons behind their decisions may have been similar, the results were different and unexpected. It speaks to a common thread between each of the Sarahs. A connection despite their differences.
Each Sarah changes their narrative. They refuse to fit the story they thought they wanted, the story they were told they wanted, even, sometimes, the story that might have been easier or made them happier. But they are in control, even when they are spiraling out of control. No Sarah leaves the story how they entered it. Which, I think, is kind of the point of life.
There is a wide range in the types of stories, and I think there is one Sarah who will resonate with everyone. I loved all of them, in all of their flawed glory. But there were certainly stories which hit incredibly close to home. I too would ove to become a tree if the option was available.
And did I mention it’s queer? There are huge themes of sexuality and gender across the collection. Each of the Sarah’s, when relationship are part of the story, was queer and I loved that. Give me more queer story collections. Especially ones with some truly bizarre speculative stories. That is 100% my vibe.
There is trans representation (binary and non-binary), lesbian representation, Jewish representation, sex worker representation, and the list goes on. It was a joy, even when I wanted to scream at some of the Sarahs’ self destructive behaviour.
This is a very human collection (yes, even with the occasional absurd or speculative piece).
If you are looking for a collection of mostly contemporary stories with a themes of gender and sexuality, of belonging and development, and with a dash of the absurd thrown in, this is 100% the collection for you.