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.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

"Outside the Asylum" by Michael Stewart (ed) (Grist Books, 2011)

The book contains the winners of the Grist Short Story 2010 competition (though it's subtitled "The best new fiction 2012") plus some other stories, 26 in all, 2 to 12 pages long. Authors include Alexei Sayle, people who've never had a story published before, and people who've been in many publications (including a Univ of Plymouth "short Fiction" competition winner).

2 of the first 3 include letters. Several involve unhappy couples and/or increasingly isolated men. Non-fantasy, non-SF.

I liked Ben Cheetham's "A Perfectly Ordinary Man" (bedwetting and the Holocaust) and Holly Oreschnick's "The Man Who Never grew Up" (fairy tale mannerisms + child molestation). Neither of the ideas were new but they were well executed. "Backwards" and "Imitating Catherine Walker" had a good plots, but didn't quite make it. Rosie Jones' "Our Candyfloss Beach" took aesthetic risks. I think it worked. I wasn't keen on "Sometimes I Think If I Start Crying Then I Ain't Gonna stop", "My Hard Luck, "Elvis and the neighbours", and "Chicken in a cold climate".

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