Review: ‘Various Antidotes: Stories’, by Joanna Scott

Stories Various Antidotes: Stories by Joanna Scott

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
I feel like 2 stars is low, but I couldn’t justify the 3-star statement that ‘I liked’ this book. I didn’t hate reading it, I didn’t have to force myself through but I found very little enjoyment in it.

My biggest gripe is that while the book is very well-written, it holds a premise that I at first thought was fascinating and full of potential, but ultimately it suffers from some kind of lack of ambition. There’s a certain comfort level Scott never steps out of and I think it shows.

Some of the stories on paper (pardon the awful cliche / pun) are interesting but something in the execution never grabbed me. I didn’t find any of the characters to be all that compelling or engaging.

The final story, ‘Tumbling’, was probably the most interesting but even there little things bugged me, even from a style standpoint; the narrator will use the word ‘fucking’ in passing as if this is her manner of communication yet later on she says ‘rump’ in place of ‘butt’, even?

There’s a kind of cohesion missing here, and the ambition never quite caught up to the premise for me. All that said, not one story is ‘bland’ either, and as I said the writing overall is quite good, it just never managed to become satisfying.

View all my reviews.


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