Air & other Stories

Air & other Stories by Lauren Leja (2017) This is a fairly short collection of five stories that are all first person, I think, and all taking the form of the autobiographical—though you have to remind yourself that it's fiction, or maybe not—I personally don't think there is a line between fiction and autobiography, but a lot of people aren't comfortable with that idea. These are stories of, I guess it's adolescence—that really uncomfortable and magical time between being a kid and an adult—when you're neither, but actually both. I say short, but there's a lot of weight here, and I'm glad when the pages aren't so many, because lately I've been reading a lot of things twice—like, I need to read things twice, at least things l like—sometimes with a break between readings and sometimes again right away. The stories are from the point of view of a woman looking back, but also from the person in the stories, so there is both an understanding that age brings and the exciting confusion of the time that, for most people, gets eradicated by the understanding, later. Most or all of the stories take place when it's summer, and hot, and the time period and place sounds much like when I was younger, the Seventies, and anywhere pretty much, suburbs, maybe. Even though these experiences are very odd and particular, and very much a young woman's experience, I could relate to a lot of it, as they are those heightened, visceral sensations you get from everything when everything in your world takes on some kind of sexual significance. Maybe it's the time when the sensuous and the sensual are the same thing, before you get older and start putting things it their well-defined, safe categories, which is kind of sad, I guess, but, I guess, necessary.