Sep 27

Review: Why She Loves Him by Wendy James

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Why She Loves Him by Wendy JamesWhy She Loves Him by Wendy James
Published by UWA Press on May 2009
Genres: contemporary, fiction, general fiction, short stories
Pages: 225
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These are tales of fugitive lives: dazzling portraits of women and men on the run; from their present, their past, their future - from themselves...Here, finally, is the complete collection of short fiction from award-winning author Wendy James. Holding a discerning mirror to seemingly ordinary lives, James captures recurring themes of love, betrayal, passion and guilt to show just how vulnerable and intricate the human heart really is. Whether narrating from the living room of a contemporary marriage, from the wheel of a desperate getaway car, or while composing an elaborate diversion in 18th century Salzburg, James has the rare ability to wryly comment on humankind with unnerving clarity and precision.

I found this amazing collection of short stories by Australian author Wendy James quite challenging. The characterisation and writing is very well crafted and I enjoyed the quality of the writing, but the 21 scenarios highlighting the many ways that individuals use and abuse the tender emotions of those around them left me feeling vaguely distressed.

I guess it is a testament to James’ skill that she was able to create characters that I identified with so quickly. I was often left wanting more at the end of the stories and I wanted the characters to find happiness, although this very rarely happened.

I read and enjoyed James’ second novel, The Steele Diaries, last year. On reflection I probably shouldn’t be surprised that she has opted to portray the complexity of human relationships in her short stories, as The Steele Diaries captured the contradictory emotional demands that many women face in their role as mothers with a similar confronting honesty.

Despite the short story format, Why She Loves Him is not a light-hearted or relaxing read but rather a very interesting exploration of the emotions that linger behind everyday relationships and situations.


This is review is part of my contribution to the Literary Road Trip hosted by GalleySmith. I am highlighting authors from New South Wales, Australia.

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