Review – Clothed, Female Figure

Clothed, Female Figure – Kirstin Allio

Final Thoughts: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kirstin Allio’s collection of short stories are united in the theme of examining womanhood. The female figureheads in these stories are mothers, daughters, maids, gardeners, friends, and family, combatting their domestic lives and conflicts.

Allio’s prose is sophisticated, and her stories are interesting studies of vastly differing characters. The parameters of the lives of her protagonists are all significant, and her artistically abstract tone tells us that there’s an important message to be heard within the heartbeat of these stories.

Personally, I struggled to get to the root of several stories. I felt the magnetic pull towards an insightful truth, but the layers of stylistic prose made it hard to dig my way into the core. I feel like I left fingernail marks as I tried to claw my way into the heart of these characters. I wanted so desperately to feel the resonance of Allio’s stories, but, ultimately, I was disconnected. I think I can chalk it up to the style. Allio’s writing is totally elevated and admirable, but it made it difficult for me to focus on the storytelling.

In any case, Allio’s prose was wonderfully elegant. This book might be a bit of a thinker, but I came away from it with such a respect for her way of writing. If you are a prose-based reader, this book would absolutely win your heart!

Thank you to Dzanc Books for sending me my copy!

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