By Nik Perring
Published by Roast Books
Reviewed by Jessica Patient
From A to Z, Nik Perring, author of Not so Perfect and co-author of Freaks, takes the reader on a delightful journey of words he has collected and collated into his latest book, Beautiful Words. These are not just words that look good on the page. In his introduction, Perring says, “their beauty may be in their construction, or how they sound, or how it feels to say them – the shapes they push our mouths into.”
In this compact book, Perring explores fact and fiction as he reveals an intriguing word ranging from Appalachian, lisp and the most powerful word of them all - fuck. Some definitions and stories are only a matter of words long but that is all that is needed for the reader’s imagination to be unleashed.
Knitted into the definitions of these twenty-six words, is the story of Alexander and Lucy. These small glimpses of a relationship told in snatched sentences from both perspectives, linger with the reader. This is one of the things I enjoy about flash fiction – the reader can piece together the wider story and fill in the gaps with their own version of the story. This book makes you stop, slow down and search for more clues about Alexander and Lucy.
I know that’s easy to say that you enjoyed a book and you would probably read it again but I can genuinely say this with Beautiful Words. I actually started again straight away and picked up more details that I had missed the first time. This is one of those books you can gobble up in one sitting or nibble away, saving the experience for as long as possible. Trust me, you’ll be going back for a second, third and forth serving of this book. Perring has a way of captivating the reader, coaxing them and on occasion pulling the reader into a darker part of the story.
There are some books that need to be in printed form rather than contained within an ebook. Beautiful Words is one of those books. The illustrations by Miranda Sofroniou are fantastic and striking and build up another story, running alongside Perring’s declarations of love to his favourite words.
The best thing is Perring has another two books out this year. I’m looking forward to reading Beautiful Trees and Beautiful Shapes, the second and third books in the series.