Nattapan Suwansukho Suwansukho itibaren Hazipur, Telangana 504207, Hindistan
I came to Schaffert via "The Mermaid in the Tree," a wonderful short story in the My Mother She Killed Me anthology that stars Miranda and Desiree, the child protagonists at the heart of a series of books in The Coffins of Little Hope. "The Mermaid in the Tree" is a very fantastical tale with sprinkles of the grotesque; I was hoping for the same sort of world in The Coffins of Little Hope. But Coffins is a much different kind of story. Though the glorious weirdness of "The Mermaid" flitters at the edges of Coffins, ultimately it's a much tamer story, set in a quaint, realist rural community. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. In fact, I really savored the entire first half of it. Schaffert achieves a sort of indirect omniscience with his first person narrator, Essie, who communicates with the other characters enough to be able to report their thoughts and feelings secondhand. It's a sort of a reportorial omniscience, a very interesting approach. As captivating and endearing as Essie is, though, I felt like Schaffert was more excited about the untold Miranda and Desiree stories. He's even created a website, rothgutts.com, where he has fleshed out the Miranda/Desiree world. Ultimately, I, too, was more excited about the fantastical tinges in Coffins of Little Hope, but the novel was still a worthwhile read.