Short Stories

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Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes: The human condition, elegantly sketched

Having got over my lifelong antipathy to short stories I still find myself drawn more to the linked variety rather than collections of standalones. There’s something about spotting a character familiar from a previous story and wondering how they might develop. Anna Noyes’ debut collection seemed like it might fit that category and although it …

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breach by Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes: Nuanced, empathetic stories from the Calais Jungle

breach is based on Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes’ exchanges with refugees who have lived in the camp known as the Jungle and the people of Calais where it’s based. Meike Ziervogel of Peirene Press commissioned the book to, in her words, ‘distil [their] stories into a work of fiction about escape, hope and aspiration. …

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A Kind of Compass (Edited by Belinda McKeon): A little cherry picking

Regular readers may have noticed that I’ve taken to reviewing short stories recently but this is my first anthology. Previous reviews have all been of collections by a single author, one whose novels I love. Two things brought me to A Kind of Compass: firstly it’s edited by Belinda McKeon both of whose novels – …

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Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann: A novella and three stories

I’ve been a fan of Colum McCann’s novels since way back in the late ‘90s when I read This Side of Brightness. His fiction ranges far and wide – from Dancer’s Rudolf Nureyev to the Roma of Zoli – and his writing is often strikingly poetic. Unsurprisingly, then, I’ve been looking forward to his new …

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A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin: Saving some for later

Lucia Berlin’s short story collection seem to be everywhere at the moment – her beautiful face shines out from broadsheet reviews, her book sits at the front of every bookshop I’ve been in recently – yet her work isn’t new. She died in 2004 having written intermittently over a long period stretching back to the …

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Beneath the Bonfire by Nickolas Butler: A rare short stories review

I think this may be the first short story collection I’ve reviewed here. There’ve been a few linked sets – Judy Chicurel’s If I’d known You were Going to Be This Beautiful… springs to mind as does Sara Taylor’s The Shore – but Nickolas Butler’s is the only one I can think of filled with …

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