I “know” Felicity Harley through Bequia … although we’ve never actually met in person, we have this little island and several friends in common. Felicity very kindly read and reviewed my novel, Island in the Clouds, from the perspective of someone who knows the setting of Bequia very well, and she gave the book an excellent endorsement, for which I am grateful. I hope we may meet some day soon.
What is your latest release and what genre is it? Portraits and Landscapes – a collection of short stories
Quick description: Portraits and Landscapes is an eclectic collection of short stories about all of us. The first stories in the collection are about failed romance and how many of us constantly and painfully search for connection in our lives. Other stories take us across the globe, and speak in a variety of voices, which give us brief glimpses of individuals who struggle to make sense of our world. The human beings described in these stories will make you laugh, weep and sometimes they’ll make you throw up your hands in utter disbelief.
A review written by Eliza Sherlock: The scope and interior quality in each of these stories, in differing ways, creates a compelling collection. There was not one I didn’t find interesting or that lost me along the way. Felicity Harley’s deep sympathy and insight into diverse human experience brings each one to life.
I found the first four stories in the collection quite different than the second half. The mysterious muted sense of hurt and inequity is beautifully rendered, the simplicity in the telling deceptive for each piece is deeply told. The characters seem to drift on currents they can’t resist, searching and restless and helpless in the grip of love. The language I found to be sensuous and luscious, the stories’ movement flowing easily and naturally. The descriptiveness combined with an interesting imprecision was fascinating, as were the scents, tastes, sounds and impressions introduced. I totally loved each and every one of them. Of them, I think I most enjoyed Love and Persia, The Art Dealer, and The Death of a Coat. Some really great knock you dead lines – “…some people kill you, it’s not their fault, and it’s not yours, but they kill you – and sometimes you kill them” and “a slow awakening to the old Persia she had read about, and it brought satiety to her hunger… ”
The second half They/Them/Us introduced another mood – more conscious and underpinned by moral concerns. I liked all of them once again. Some read like cautionary tales, narrated with a sense of imparting a message – none hit you over the head with the moral, intriguing journeys into other places and other lives, creating empathy for even the unsympathetic. Pon de Wall, Ben, The Wine of Life and In the Pursuit of Happiness stood out, Your Daughter Tasted Like Fish both beautiful in its love, and devastating in its conclusion. Some like The Survivalists, Divers and Floaters and First Ladies, full of interesting insights, make statements but are so interesting and unforced that they work. “She couldn’t help being a diver; it was what made her happy,” struck a responsive chord in me, as “the race they began together as equals, still greatly favored him,” also did.
A marvelous debut collection by this writer of ability and promise.
Felicity Harley is a polished public speaker, published journalist, writer and a poet. Felicity Harley has most recently published a collection of short stories called Portraits and Landscapes and her play Transplant was recently produced by Hartbeat Theatre. In 2013 her work was published in an anthology called Gathered Light – On the Poetry of Joni Mitchell, alongside writers such as Wally Lamb, Kim Addonizio, Fred Wah (Poet Laureate of Canada), Larry Klein, Susan Deer Cloud, Cornelius Eady, and others. In celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and on behalf of Poets for Human Rights, Felicity was the winner of the 2013 Anita McAndrews Award.
Links to buy Felicity’s book:
Purchase Portraits and Landscapes on Amazon – eBook and paperback
What are you working on now?
Currently Felicity is editing two science fiction novels in a four part series she is writing under consultation with her agent, JoAnn Deck. She blogs regularly for Medium and for Plum Tree Books.
She is also writing a musical based on the story of a young Afghan Woman with a musician friend and in consultation with a number of Afghan writers and colleagues.
Felicity’s reading recommendation:
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt