Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Saturday 21 July 2012

"The Half-Life of Songs" by David Gaffney (Salt, 2010)

Over 50 Flashes, some from magazines I've wanted to be in - Flash Magazine, Litro, Riptide, Ambit, etc. I've liked some of the quirky, offbeat, undramatic samples I've seen from his earlier collection. Such pieces are going to be rather hit and miss, though by the time I reached p.30 I'd expected to have read a hit or 2. In the end

  • I was impressed by "I Liked Everything" (though it's a rather atypical piece), "Remaking the Moon" - "They would smile at Mason in that sarcastic way people with an interest in local history have, then saunter off, trailing their fingers along his brickwork. It was as if Mason and his house were public property, like a puppy or pregnant woman" (p.48) and "Gelling".
  • I liked "Music like ours never dies", "Spoilt Victorian child", "Portraits of insane women", "Is your thought really necessary?" (about thoughts becoming physical, producing their own landfill problems), "So much noise", "The Half life of songs" and "Junctions one to four were never built"

There were only a few repeated themes - art museums and pursed lips, love interest thrown in to add human interest. I think I mostly know what he's trying to do. I've written a few pieces not unlike these - e.g. when a "discount carpets" sign got old and became "disco      pets", etc. The Acknowledgements fill a page, so I suppose all these stories deserved book publication. And anyway, people wouldn't buy a prose book that had less than 40 pages, though they might buy a poetry book the same size and easier to write.

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