Tag Archive: short stories

 Edited by Jo Glanville
I read this for Book 7. A book set in a country that fascinates you.
These short stories are amazing. They offer slices of life in Palestine as experienced and then told by women. Many of them are not political in any overt way – they deal with childhood memories of being mischievous, of buying shoes and not buying into societies ideas of what feminine is, of being a child in a beautiful country.
Others show how the political situation defines and determines so many actions and activities those of us in freer countries would perform without thought. Imagine spending a whole day travelling a short distance to visit relatively because of the numerous road blocks? Road blocks with what seems like very little purpose other than to show power.
And yet other stories talk very specifically about the awful vortex of death and killing that exists in this part of the world. You kill my child, I will kill two of yours – back and forth until all the children are dead.
All of the stories are powerful in their own way. Not a single one can be read and just flipped past, forgotten, consumed like junk food. They are all important and valuable. Each deserves time taken to read and digest. I will return to them all to reread and reconsider.
In each story the very humanness of the characters is so powerful. When we read of deaths and bombings or see footage on tv it is easy to forget that the victims, and perpetrators, are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, siblings – people just like us with all the same relationships and complications.
These stories show the humanity of the people caught up in the violence, and remind us that it is not politicians who live with the daily fear – it is the people.
In addition, there is a strong feminist thread through these stories. These are women getting on with it, making things happen, surviving often in the most dire of circumstances.
A wonderful collection of stories. Simply wonderful.
In the spirit of fairness, I shall also be reading a collection of Israeli short stories. And I am sure that the same humanity, experiences, fears and disruptions exist on that side of the story too.

by Mike McClelland

This is the book I read for Book 12. A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist.

This book is a collection of short stories which range from space to Mombasa, from sweaty bars in South America to elegant country estates. In all the stories, the protagonists are searching for something – love, connection, status, or social standing. And they all happen to be gay.

The humanity of each character and story is what McClelland creates so perfectly. Each story and situation is completely real as you read it. He manages not only to tell unique stories, but to tell each of them in a suitable and appropriate way. His language use changes, his sentence structure shortens or lengthens, his very style matches the story perfectly. This kind of skill and attention to detail adds a dimension to these stories you may not notice until you realise how deeply each crawls into you.

The love and human connection each character seeks, or rejects, links the writer, the characters and the reader – the very humanness of us all is so evident it is palpable.

Loved these stories.

dead ends

Dead ends and Sharp bends by Angela Meadon

I got this book in exchange for an honest review.

Short stories are tricky things – the author has very little time to get the reader sucked in, in harmony with their writing style, and understanding everything that is not said as well as that which is. And as the reader, you have to be able to get the author immediately to fully appreciate the story. There is no ‘it gets better after the first 100 pages’ with a short story. Liking or disliking a short story really is about how well and quickly the author and reader mesh.

All of that being said, I found this anthology of short stories a bit of a mixed bag. I really liked some of the stories, while I thought others had great potential not quite realised. There were also some which I didn’t get at all, and some which felt a little forced.

But that is not to say I don’t think it is an anthology worth reading – I certainly think it is. Meadon has some interesting ideas and twists, and sometimes I put my kindle down at the end of a story and actually physically shuddered saying ugh because the story was so vivid.

The book could have done with a slightly tighter edit – little things like using a character’s name twice in a sentence when he is the only participant, instead of using ‘he’ is an editorial thing, not an author thing. And it jars unnecessarily.

If Meadon produced another anthology I’d read it too because, for all the little things and the few stories which didn’t work for me, I think she is an interesting author.