Review: When Watched

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Book Title: When Watched
Author: Leopoldine Core
Series: None
Genres: Short Stories, Fiction

Date Read: 07/23/16
Pub Date: 08/09/16


In Leopoldine Core’s stories, you never know where you are going to end up. Populated by sex workers and artists, lovers and friends, her characters are endlessly striving to understand each other. And while they may seem to operate at the margins, there is something eminently relatable, even elemental about their romantic relationships, their personal demons, and the strange shapes their joy can take.

Refreshing, witty, and absolutely close to the heart, Core’s twenty stories, set in and around New York City, have an other-worldly quality along with a deep seriousness—even a moral seriousness. What we know of identity is smashed and in its place, true individuals emerge, each bristling with a unique sexuality, a belief-system all their own. Reminiscent of Jane Bowles, William Burroughs, and Colette, her writing glows with an authenticity that is intoxicating and rare.

Dirty and squalid, poetic and pure, Core bravely tunnels straight to the center of human suffering and longing. This collection announces a daring and deeply sensitive new voice.

What a relatable selection of short stories! I was extremely pleased with this nugget of gold; every short story was a tangled web of human disfunction, mostly based on struggles involving relationships and individual thoughts, beliefs, and inner demons. My favorite of the stories was “Orphans”, although “The Trip” was a close second! All the stories were worth the read though, and even though they were dark, quirky, and uncomfortable, there was something satisfactory about reaching the end of each tale.

I could feel the authors passion shine through her work; each snippet was carefully crafted and felt derived from somewhere deep in her soul. You could truly feel the time and thought poured into each section of this small yet mighty book. If you enjoy off beat literary fiction in the form of short stories, this book is definitely for you. Even with multiple stories included, the book came in at 240 pages, so not a huge investment of time and worth the chance. I’m so glad I picked this up at the time I did!

*Many thanks to Penguin Books and Leopoldina Core for providing my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

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