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Reviewed by ALEX NDIRANGU for Readers' Favorite
Mary Patterson Thornburg's In the Skull Palace and Other Stories is a great collection of 14 short stories. They're well-written and shaped by a distinct imagination fed by engrossing plot developments and well-developed characters. Her vivid descriptive style will transport you to a fantasy world full of magnificent mystical landscapes and creatures, as well as quirky and amazing individuals with distinct but appealing personalities. By using settings with characters of the kinds we've all seen or met before and injecting originality, Mary created a thriving world of artistic beauty that no reader would want to leave.
My favorite of the 14 stories was The Breakfast Rush. In this narrative, we meet Tony Newsome, a young man who had too much whiskey the night before. The following day, Tony must still make it to a meeting with a Hollywood producer for a job possibility. Because he fears a hangover before reaching his destination, he gets up early, drives recklessly into the wrong lane of the highway, and nearly hits a tanker. Will Tony achieve his aim before a bad hangover sets in? Will he ever get to talk to the Hollywood producer? One of my other favorite novellas is The Stones. The author conveys the value of a great friendship in this story. I fervently hoped that the bond between Catherine and Connie, which Mary introduced to us, was true. I admire Mary Patterson's skill in ensuring that each narrative contained elements that made it distinctive from the others. I'm sure that any reader of literature will agree that true talent and a love of writing inspired this work.