The Rise and Rise of the Short Story

Reader Logo by Catherine McNamara

The most heart-warming news of the year for anyone who is crazy enough to have published a collection of short stories recently, is that the wonderful Alice Munro – a top player in a restricted field – has been awarded the Nobel Prize. The hearts of short story writers all over the globe skipped a beat. A short story writer – one of our own! – receives recognition for a lifetime of short stories!

But hang on, what’s going on here? For anyone trying to base a writing career on short stories, the publishing landscape can be very bleak. Sure, you can publish in print magazines and online reviews and build up your CV, but try telling that to a prospective agent or publisher. What will you be told? Hmmm. You can write but, er, short story collections don’t sell. Nobody will review them. No bookshop with stock them. Nobody buys them. Sorry bout that. How about coming back with a novel?

What Lot’s Wife Saw : Review

What Lot’s Wife Saw
By Ioanna Bourazopoulou
Published by Black and White Publishing
Reviewed by Jessica Patient

What Lot’s Wife Saw, Ioanna Bourazopoulou’s fifth novel (but first novel translated into English) tells the story of an ensemble cast of characters, struggling to survive after a biblical flood has swallowed most of Europe. At the Dead Sea, the earth has opened up to reveal a violet salt with addictive properties.

A mysterious company, Seventy-Five, has taken control of the distribution of the salt. They have more power than the government – they have created jobs for displaced people, restarted economies and built a port in Paris to transport their salt from an isolated colony, which is close to the source of this strange substance. The colony, controlled by Seventy-Five, is run by people who are trying to escape their past. Murderers, fugitives and liars are in positions of power. The Governor suddenly dies and the Seventy-Five want to find out who has killed the Governor. Phileas Book, a puzzler complier for The Times newspaper, is recruited to solve the mystery by reading the letters of the suspects, sieving through their lies and deceptions. Phileas must also face up to his own past.

The Jewel of the Orient by Louise Palfreyman

Siamese fighting fish #1

On my first visit I had pictured mill-workers wearily trudging home to pots of steaming broth and pale mucky faces at the table. Taken with this image, I told the letting agent I intended to move in the following month. But now I was here, there was something claustrophobic about being crammed in on top of each other, rising up the hill in a stack of stone and slate.

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Review: All Dogs Are Blue

All Dogs Are Blue
By Rodrigo De Souza Leao
Translated from the original Portuguese by Zoe Perry and Stefan Tobler
Published by & Other Stories
Reviewed by Jessica Patient

All Dogs Are Blue is a captivating and brilliant stream of consciousness novella about mental illness in a Brazilian asylum. Souza Leao’s semi-autobiographical story is fantastic.

Our narrator has been sent to a mental asylum in Rio de Janeiro, as he believes he has swallowed a ‘chip’, which has commanded him to do things he doesn’t really want to do. He has been admitted and put into isolation as he destroyed his family’s home and had to be taken away by the police. The blue pills he is forced to take remind him of his childhood and his toy dog, who was also the same shade of blue. This is also a cheeky nod to the well-known ‘black dog’ which many people use when referring to depression.

“Everything went Van Gogh. The light of things changed.”

Beast by Richard Foreman


Alison had spent much of the morning cleaning and preparing their meditation room for the interview.  She was still arranging the last of the floor cushions in what she could remember of the pattern that the feng-shui consultant had stipulated, when she heard the chiming of the front door bell.
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We Are Washing by Claire King

Minimalist Shower

Naked against the cold tiles, I wait. Waiting to sluice away a night spent under hotel sheets, the smell of room service. I stand impatient and exposed in my adequate, fourth floor Executive Suite. There is no hot water yet, because above me
and below me
The earth is heaving.

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Three Minutes in Harry's Still Life by Christopher Allen

Anne slipped the lemon biscuit into the pocket of her burgundy tweed coat and whispered, “I have a secret.” She tugged me out the back door to the wood, where we weren’t allowed to play.

To read more click here.