“There are things that it is impossible to learn when you are young, no matter how much you read and study.” The season of fury and wonder, in Sharon Butala’s world, is the old age of women. These stories present the lives of old women – women of experience, who’ve seen much of life, who’ve tasted of its sweetness and its bitter possibilities, and have developed opinions and come to conclusions about what it all amounts to. These are stories of today’s old women, who understand that they have been created by their pasts.
But there’s another layer to this standard-setting example of “cronelit.” Not content to rest on her considerable literary laurels, Sharon Butala continues to push the boundaries of her art. The stories in Season of Fury and Wonder are all reactions to other, classic, works of literature that she has encountered and admired. These stories are, in their various ways, inspired by and tributes to works by the likes of Raymond Carver, Willa Cather, James Joyce, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Conner, John Cheever, Alan Sillitoe, Ernest Hemmingway, Tim O’Brien, Edgar Allan Poe and Anton Checkov.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Is Old Adult the new Young Adult? Sharon Butala delivers a short-story collection about women of a certain age that we think will speak to everyone. Butala removes the condescending “aren’t they darling?” factor often found in fiction about the elderly, getting inside the heads of heroines who are in touch with their pasts and identities and who, thanks to their many years of experience, possess a totally captivating directness and confidence. After establishing herself as an excellent novelist and nonfiction writer, Butala has returned to short stories with a splash—and her talent for the form is as sharp as ever.