Book Review: Winds of Marble Arch by Connie Willis Two Stars

Book Review: The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories by Connie Willis

Two Stars out of Five

Connie Willis is something of a one-trick pony. She does her trick very well, but the shallowness of her style shouts when a dozen of her short stories are lumped together, as here. Especially when some are poor enough that they’d probably never see publication except in such an anthology. 700 pages of it.

As her readers know, Willis is fascinated with London during the Blitz. That is represented here, but she ranges far across the globe to present the usual suspects—late, lazy, lost or looney—fighting their own attention deficit and (usually) an impersonal bureaucracy or just the dead hand of the past to fulfill some (usually) mundane, but existentially significant to them, task. And driving themselves (and the reader) crazy in the process.

Few of these stories involve time travel: the staple of many of her books.

A better example of Willis’ style and single trick is Doomsday Book. That book has a soul which many of these stories lack. If you’ve never read Willis before, start with Doomsday Book.

Skip this collection.