The Odditorium: Stories
By Melissa Pritchard
Completed February 17, 2012
When I was younger, I didn’t like short story collections. I felt teased by only a small portion of a larger story and frustrated when my search for a connecting thread turned up fruitless. Thankfully now, I have case aside my hesitancy and am enjoying short story collections, including my latest read, The Odditorium by Melissa Pritchard.
The Odditorium touches on multiple genres: Westerns, historical fiction, murder mysteries, religious fiction and more. To shape each story, Pritchard plucks out obscure people, places and events from history and the modern world. While I enjoyed all of the stories, here are a few of my favorites:
1. “Watanya Ciclia” is the story about the friendship between Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull watches Annie at a show, and eventually agrees to join Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, despite the boos and jeers, to spend time with Annie. The story is a touching tribute to two friends and sympathic view of the plight of Sitting Bull.
2. “Captain Brown and the Royal Victoria Military Hospital” is the longest story in the collection – and one many other readers didn’t like. This story resonated with me, however. Captain Brown is an American naval surgeon who must convert a Victorian-era British military hospital into a feat of modern medicine – all before the Allied’s planned attack on D-Day. Brown was fallible and honest, and despite his career successes, was guilty about decisions he made in his life. This would have made a wonderful novel.
3. “Patricide” takes place at the hotel that houses a courtyard played in by Edgar Allan Poe. Two sisters meet there to discuss their dying father. The oldest sister, Avis, who was to inherit her father’s riches, was considered a disappointment by her father, and he cut Avis out of his will. When Signe, the other sister, sees the pain Avis is in from an arthritic knee, Signe wonders if she could kill her father now so she can rush the money to her ailing sister. Throughout the story, we learn about Signe’s life, including a recent scandal from her job as a teacher. Mixed into the story are wonderful lines from Poe’s poetry.
All in all, I was immersed in great storytelling and fantastic writing. I highly recommend The Odditorium to readers who enjoyed high-quality short stories and lovers of literary fiction. ( )
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.