Elisabeth De Mariaffi’s debut short story collection How to Get Along With Women (Invisible Publishing, 2012) is at once stunning and daring, a kaleidoscope of stories weaving the emotions and experiences of mostly female protagonists as they explore their relationships with themselves, their environments and others.
Where De Mariaffi excels is in the transportative narrative of the individual stories. Each tale carries the reader through the protagonist’s fears and histories, themes range from sexual abuse, to broken homes, innocence, to eating disorders, friendships, anxiety, sex, love and loss, the range of subjects just as distinct.
As readers, we travel across Ontario and often escape to Paris, France, where romanticism is paired with isolation. De Mariaffi’s words sometimes cut like knives so deep that when the stories end, you’d swear that you were bleeding.
Without a dull moment, this collection is powerful and brave. You might not learn how to get along with women, but maybe you’ll begin to understand them.
Review by Sheena Lyonnais.