I am so thrilled that Sandy Day offered me a copy of An Empty Nest to read and review because I absolutely loved this short story collection. At just under a hundred pages, I had assumed the book would be a swift read, but actually found myself lingering over certain stories and rereading others so I came away from the collection almost with the sense of having read a whole novel, and an emotionally charged one at that. This sense might also be because of how each story fits so beautifully into the whole work.
Set across the course of a single summer, An Empty Nest depicts one woman's coming to terms with herself when there are suddenly no family members or pets to demand her time. At first angry and bereft at her abandonment, she gains perspective both from looking back into her past, and out into her present. I felt this book to be a coming-of-age story for women at a point in our lives when we are often overlooked. I loved the progression from our narrator's fraught emotional state at the beginning, to a serene tranquillity at its close. In fact reading An Empty Nest, for me, had a lot in common with a meditation. I could feel myself calming and focusing in step with our narrator. I'm not sure I have ever experienced this physical reaction in quite the same way from a book before.
Day has a sensitive and evocative turn of phrase and I felt as though every word was here for a reason. Her writing is rich with observations and memory, but never feels bloated or padded out. Yet stories of less than half a page in length are just as satisfyingly complete as those of several pages. I admit to being envious of not only the summer cabin around which many of the stories take place, but also of Day's ability to evoke this location! I think An Empty Nest is a stunning achievement. I would highly recommend it to introspective readers and women who, like me, are rapidly yet nervously heading towards that Certain Age.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)