Elysium and Other StorieseBook - 2008
Pamela Stewart is a self-described ?literary proctologist,? and her writing often looks into places that people generally don?t want to look. The stories in Elysium are about the difficulties of life we all encounter as human beings, the fragility of life?the physical, mental, and spiritual challenges we must try to overcome. They are about ordinary people, characters searching for meaning. People are rescued, but not always in the way they hoped for or expected. Stewart?s work is character-driven and empathetic.
Pamela Stewart spent twenty years as a private investigator, which gave her a special insight into human behaviour. ?Because I spent so many years alone in a car watching people, my perspective on people is a bit different. I would watch someone for three or so days in a row, and in that time get a capsule version of their life; but it was skewed because I was part of their life, yet not part. They didn?t know I was in it,? she says. ?Writing about people is kind of like that too.?
Praise for Elysium :
?... Stewart is clearly a versatile and imaginative writer who does not lose sight of the fact that strong plots, plausible characters, action and conflict drive successful short stories. "... There is a sense in her fiction that Stewart has the patience and perspicacity to get it just right?to write meaningful, artful, stories that permit readers immediate access.?( Front & Centre )
? Elysium ?s strongest stories offer more than shocking scenarios, and focus on believable characters. ?Le Pain? is about Mildred, a lonely baker with a passion for bread (and a tattoo of bread popping out of a toaster); the gripping ?Snow Angels? describes Emily, a new mother struggling with the guilt of witnessing an accidental death. Anything but angelic, Stewart?s protagonists make Elysium a bold debut.? ( The Fashion Magazine )
"Stewart writes in a clear, spare style that motors along with little ornamentation but every so often delivers a metaphoric punch. ... The stories are intense and compressed, often leaving out connective tissue to achieve ends and effects usually associated with poetry, and benefit from rereading. Yet the book on the whole is suffused with enough organic humour and wit to keep you smiling throughout, if not laughing out loud. With each story brief enough to be read at a sitting, consider Elysium like a box of narrative truffles, each one unique and satisfying on its own, though they go down nice in bunches as well..." ( TORO.com )