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The Scent Of Cinnamon (Salt Modern Fiction)

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Features stories that deal with life, love, loneliness, delusion, misunderstanding and death. In this work, the stories' settings range across time and space, from the colonial outback in the late nineteenth century to contemporary urban life in London and Rome and Paris, to both warring sides of the Second World War. Features stories that deal with life, love, loneliness, delusion, misunderstanding and death. In this work, the stories' settings range across time and space, from the colonial outback in the late nineteenth century to contemporary urban life in London and Rome and Paris, to both warring sides of the Second World War.


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Features stories that deal with life, love, loneliness, delusion, misunderstanding and death. In this work, the stories' settings range across time and space, from the colonial outback in the late nineteenth century to contemporary urban life in London and Rome and Paris, to both warring sides of the Second World War. Features stories that deal with life, love, loneliness, delusion, misunderstanding and death. In this work, the stories' settings range across time and space, from the colonial outback in the late nineteenth century to contemporary urban life in London and Rome and Paris, to both warring sides of the Second World War.

30 review for The Scent Of Cinnamon (Salt Modern Fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    David Katzman

    [I'm bringing back this review in support of author Charles Lambert's new novel A View from the Tower.] The words fall away until only the story is left behind. I’m often a fan of authors who generate pyrotechnics with words—like Williams S. Burroughs and Martin Amis (at his best). At the other end of the spectrum are writers who call attention to the words they select, trying to describe situations with brute force. British author Charles Lambert uses words that serve the story, never forcing a [I'm bringing back this review in support of author Charles Lambert's new novel A View from the Tower.] The words fall away until only the story is left behind. I’m often a fan of authors who generate pyrotechnics with words—like Williams S. Burroughs and Martin Amis (at his best). At the other end of the spectrum are writers who call attention to the words they select, trying to describe situations with brute force. British author Charles Lambert uses words that serve the story, never forcing a clever turn of phrase just for the sake of it. Rather, he brings you into the characters’ worlds through voice and detailed descriptions. The short stories in The Scent of Cinnamon are exquisite little gems. It rather makes sense that Lambert’s latest novel is a literary thriller because these stories feel like mysteries. Not whodunit mysteries, mysteries of life. I sense the stories trying to work out the enigmatic. And many of them have surprise endings. Twists you don’t expect. Often unexpected character actions that, once they take place, cause the rest of the story to fall into place. Ahhh, that was what was going on. Other times, there is no resolution, no bow tie. Sometimes the stories are surreal, like dark magical-realism; other times they are raw in their reality. Some occur in the distant past, others in the present. Even if the genres are not consistent between the stories, I found them linked by both the constant quest to understand human nature (which sometimes ends with a shrug—we must accept that we’ll never understand most things), and by the authorial voice, which, as I said, is rather self-effacing but very precise. Careful and methodical. The character voices are convincing. Many of the narrators are children, providing an outsider view of the crimes of adults. I will admit to an occasional head-scratching ending. But I’m okay with that—mysteries are not always meant to be solved. The primary reason I don’t like short stories is that when I do like them, I don’t want them to end. My favorite in this collection, All Gone, was like that: I could’ve kept living in the world of this story for a good time longer. Even so, it was satisfying, as it felt Lambert packed a small space with a lot of experience. Set in 1965, All Gone is the story of a young boy, whose mother opens up a sundry shop in a rather blue-collar bit of England. Lambert does an amazing job of conjuring a sense of the people in this place and time. A slice of life story that feels nostalgic and yet integrates elements of class and economic critique effortlessly. The Scent of Cinnamon will absolutely appeal to short story fans and might even sway a few, like myself, who normally avoid the medium. I enjoyed this collection so much that I’m now moving on to Lambert’s newest book Any Human Face .

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    although the title ‘The Scent of Cinnamon’ may suggest something light and pleasant, and indeed the title story about a mail order bride set at the turn of last century begins that way, you will find the stories here are far from being so. They're mostly tough and punchy, contain hidden meanings and ideas, peopled by complex, believable and not always likeable characters. So wide ranging: from historical (two set in WW2) to bang up to date, gay to hetero- to bi-sexual, realism to supernatural th although the title ‘The Scent of Cinnamon’ may suggest something light and pleasant, and indeed the title story about a mail order bride set at the turn of last century begins that way, you will find the stories here are far from being so. They're mostly tough and punchy, contain hidden meanings and ideas, peopled by complex, believable and not always likeable characters. So wide ranging: from historical (two set in WW2) to bang up to date, gay to hetero- to bi-sexual, realism to supernatural themes, academic to council estate to middle class dinner settings, England to Italy via (possibly) Australia. You never quite know what you’re going to get from one story to the next. One thing though – you’re in safe hands. Lambert is an expert writer, his work telling and beautiful, a great eye for detail, great on childhood (All Gone, Girlie etc) even better on adults and their mixed desires and morals (desire usually winning out over morals) (Entertaining Friends, The Crack). A couple of quotes from one story (All Gone) might illustrate his skill and power: (after crapping himself running from bullies): My mother swept out from behind the counter. She picked me up round the chest, then immediately put me down again with a squeal of distatse. I stood in the centre of the shop, the legs of my flannel shorts glued to my innerthighs, their seat to mine. We could all smell it. I knew we could. It was hot and bitter, like tea from the pot. (a fire): The air above Princess Rd looked like watered silk that night, but hot. As we drove in silence.. we noticed the smell, and then the air itself. My father parked the Humber, and we walked from the shop to the burning paint factory, holding hands as the hot sour wind enveloped us. The sky was fringed with red that licked up into the darkness, chased by a blue that seemed warmer than the yellow of flames, blue as the daytime sky. We could hardly breathe. The evening air smelt like the acetone my mother used to clean her nails, like mechanics' yards, like the boys who lived in the slums; a smell that skinned the eyes and took the words out of our mouths. A cracking collection, or should that be craic-ing? Very nearly a 5 starrer and probably would have been a few weeks ago but I've been giving too many out lately, trying to rein in. Plus although this sounds perverse sometimes the sheer variety was overwhelming and I longed for a slim more-centred collection, but then I love slim collections like other people seem to like fat novels.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Baines

    Wonderful short story collection. Moving, witty and vivid, amazingly varied in style and subject matter, but unified by a sense of the richness and strangeness of human experience. See a leg of the virtual book tour hosted on my blog: http://elizabethbaines.blogspot.com/2... Wonderful short story collection. Moving, witty and vivid, amazingly varied in style and subject matter, but unified by a sense of the richness and strangeness of human experience. See a leg of the virtual book tour hosted on my blog: http://elizabethbaines.blogspot.com/2...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wendell

    Author Charles Lambert discusses The Scent of Cinnamon on VitaVagabonda. Author Charles Lambert discusses The Scent of Cinnamon on VitaVagabonda.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This sounds very compelling.

  6. 4 out of 5

    sisterimapoet

    I like Charles Lambert's writing – and he writes short stories which hold my attention more than many do, but I still prefer his longer form writing. The occasional story I didn't particularly like could be finished and left behind – but those which I loved I wanted to spend more time with, more sentences, more pages, more story. I like Charles Lambert's writing – and he writes short stories which hold my attention more than many do, but I still prefer his longer form writing. The occasional story I didn't particularly like could be finished and left behind – but those which I loved I wanted to spend more time with, more sentences, more pages, more story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Buzz

    A writer fond of formulas, over which the shadow of William Trevor often seems to fall.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Myra

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hattie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tania

  12. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  15. 4 out of 5

    annie

  16. 5 out of 5

    Apubakr

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kay

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Lesky

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Geoghegan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Penny Hughes

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

  22. 5 out of 5

    James

  23. 5 out of 5

    Basobi Das

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter Correa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Gibson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dot Win

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kerri Reed

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shiny

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