Book cover for The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Orberg featuring the silhouette of a sinister looking mermaid.

Review: The Merry Spinster

4/5 stars

As with most short story collections, there are a couple I really loved and a couple I could have done without. That’s just the nature of the format, I think.

Ortberg’s strength in all of his writing, both here and online, is his unique talent for creating distinct, believable, voices. Whether it’s the cheeky, omnipotent narrator in “The Daughter Cells” or the un-self-aware self-righteousness in “Cast your Bread upon the Waters,” he does a fantastic job of giving each character a rich texture and inner life that can be difficult to achieve in short fiction.

“The Wedding Party” did the least for me; I wasn’t really familiar with the source material for that story and the meandering conversation left me cold.

“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” absolutely broke my heart. I’ve been in that friendship. It absolutely rips you apart, and you can’t even see it happening.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this as the first of Ortberg’s works for someone to read. Start with Texts from Jane Eyre, then read some Objectivist Harry Potter. You’ll know by then whether Ortberg’s work is for you.

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