Einstein's Beach House - Jacob Appel
***I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

(3.5 rounded down)

This is a very difficult book to rate & review, because though I loved some of the stories in this anthology (Einstein's Beach House, The Rod of Asclepius), there were also stories I wasn't so fond of (La Tristesse Des Hérissons, Sharing the Hostage). It was a very mixed bag for me, as can be the case (risk?) with anthologies.

Appel has a very nice writing style with a good flow. I think what I missed was some kind of connection with most of these stories. The voice was the same from story to story, and it became harder to differentiate between them the more I read. An eleven-year-old girl sounded the same as a middle-aged man, etc. It might be that the style is just not for me!

One thing I do have to mention is the ableist theme that was present throughout a few of the stories. Characters seem to hold mental health care and professionals in contempt and find mental illness as something shameful (even a pharmacy technician "grinned knowingly" at someone ordering a prescription for Prozac and the MC trying to convince the tech it wasn't for him because dang, wouldn't that be the end of the world). I mean, if it was just one of the stories, it would be something I could shrug off, but it's multiple stories that characters seem to find mental illness shameful or mental health practitioners people to be mocked. It's . . . not something I like to read.

The Rod of Asclepius is by far my favorite from the anthology. It was chilling and had a climax I feel some of the other stories lacked. And Einstein's Beach House is wonderful - darkly comedic and tragic and exactly what I was looking for in this book.

Overall, it's a nice collection of stories, and some of them really made it worth the read.