I've never read anything by Joanne Harris before and I am a very picky person when it comes to short stories. So, I picked this from my local library and finished it within a few days (savouring the book). After I finished this wonderful collection I must say: Ms Harris knows how to tell a good story! Yes, some stories are better than the others, some are inspiring and some you read and forget almost immediately. BUT what kinda blew me away is the author's ability to talk in so many voices - the stories are so different I found it hard to believe they were written by the same person. The atmosphere, the topics, the language, the narrative - I thought it is a rare skill to have this ability (and imagination) to enable one person to literally speak with such different voices. Joanne Harris is some sort of ventriloquist! She has all this different characters and yet it is her, a single author, who speaks for them.
"Faith and Hope Fly South", "Cookie", "Muse" and "Dee Eye Why" particularly grabbed my attention. And "Would You Like to Reconnect" put me into a thoughtful mood.
P.S. I was just searching Google for a table of contents of "A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String" to mention names of the stories that I liked the most, and what do you know, Google has actually have some of the stories from this book available for all to read through their Google books project! Check it out :)