‘The Pull of the Moon’ book review
By Joshua Grant, Senior Columnist
I picked up the short story collection The Pull of the Moon after hearing Julie Paul read part of “Squirrel People” at an event. I thought the story was funny, but Paul warned me that not all of the stories in the collection would be like that. I told her that was okay.
The stories in The Pull of the Moon range from funny-sexy through funny-grim to outright harrowing. They are all good. In “Flip,” Claudia, the awkward, orally fixated librarian goes on vacation with a flirtatious co-worker. In “Squirrel People,” Dylan’s obnoxious neighbour makes him doubt his marriage, with a squirrel trap, a garden hose, and the mention of boudoir photos. You’ll have to read it to find out. There are 12 stories in this collection and Paul’s range is astonishing.
Equally astonishing is her restraint. The stories feel tightly wound, compact. The conflict, whether slapstick or tragic, always feels real. And it always seems to work because Paul’s characters feel so alive. She demonstrates her ability to flesh out a character in each story. In first-, second-, and third-person, Paul’s characters are so real you can feel their pulse, their pains, and their thrills. But since each character is such a pleasure to inhabit, I felt a real sadness when I had to leave them after a scant 20 pages. Some, I think, feel good enough to deserve a novel, which is not much of a gripe at all.
Between Paul’s range and virtuosity, most readers will find something to glom onto. Simply put, this is a good collection of short stories and well-worth a read.