Short Stories

Cover image for Islanders by Claire Thomas

Islanders by Cathy Thomas: Small world

Although I’ve long since been converted to reading short story collections, I still prefer the linked variety. There’s something appealing about spotting characters from previous pieces, particularly in a small town setting, which is what attracted me to Cathy Thomas’ Islanders set on Guernsey. Comprising twelve stories set over two decades beginning in 2000, it …

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Cover image for Hearts and Bones by Niamh Mulvey

Hearts and Bones: Love Songs for Late Youth by Niamh Mulvey: Another fine Irish collection

I’m on a winning streak with Irish women authors this year. I’m sure to hit a dud eventually but Niamh Mulvey’s debut, Hearts and Bones, certainly isn’t it. This slim collection comprising ten stories comes with a subtitle which sets the tone, echoed by that brilliant jacket, as its narrators, mostly women, look back at …

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Cover image for How to Gust a Fish by Sheila Armstrong

How to Gut a Fish by Sheila Armstrong: A striking, idiosyncratic collection

Irish writer Sheila Armstrong’s debut collection How to Gut a Fish came with a glowing endorsement from Roddy Doyle which was part of the lure for me; that and the hint of the surreal in its blurb. The collection comprises fourteen stories, none more than twenty pages long, each very different from the other. As …

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Cover image for Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King: Astute observation plus a few dark surprises

I was delighted to spot Lily King’s Five Tuesdays in Winter on Twitter having enjoyed both Writers & Lovers and Father of the Rain. It’s her first short story collection, comprising ten pieces many of which explore themes of love, relationships and parenthood, some with a darker edge than I remember from her novels. He …

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Cover image for Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love by Huma Qureshi

Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love by Huma Qureshi: A quietly accomplished collection

I take occasional digs on here at the hype which pervades Twitter where every book is super fabulous but it has to be said I’m often grateful when a book is flagged I might have otherwise missed. Huma Qureshi’s Things We Do Not Tell the People We Love is a case in point. Comprising nine …

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Cover image for Address Book by Neil Bartlett

Address Book by Neil Bartlett: Seven stories of love and belonging

It was its structure that attracted me to Neil Bartlett’s Address Book. It’s a set of seven loosely linked short stories each of which takes place in London in different times and different situations, all sharing the themes of home, belonging and love. I usually pick out the best of the bunch with short story …

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Cover image for Tunnelling to the Centre of the Earth by Kevin Wilson

Tunneling to the Centre of the Earth by Kevin Wilson: ‘I don’t think I belong here’  

I spotted Kevin Wilson’s Tunneling to the Centre of the Earth on Netgalley, reminding me of how much I enjoyed his novel, Nothing to See Here. It’s a new edition of his first short story collection comprising eleven pieces. Knowing that many of them were written when Wilson was a student, my expectations weren’t particularly …

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Cover image for The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans: ‘The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past’

I’d not read anything by Danielle Evans before The Office of Historical Corrections turned up, although the title of her prize-winning, Before You Suffocate your Own Fool Self, had caught my eye. This second collection comprises seven stories, one lengthy enough to qualify as a novella, which explore racism in America and its complicated history. …

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Cover image for Kreminology of kisses by Barabara Bleiman

Kreminology of Kisses by Barbara Bleiman: Sealed with a kiss, or not

Always a risky business agreeing to a review request from an author, something I rarely do. If I don’t like their book, it feels as if I’ve slapped them in the face. Last year, I struck lucky with Deirdre Shanahan’s Carrying Fire and Water which is perhaps what made me accept Barbara Bleiman’s offer of …

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