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, 28 May 2016

"The Mechanics Institute Review issue 11" (Autumn 2014)

This is collection of stories from people associated with Birkbeck college's BA and MA creative writing courses. Though I wasn't knocked out by all the stories, that one college can produce such a collection shows how competitive the short story arena is nowadays.

I liked Jennifer Whitehead's piece (others might say that it's good of its type). Sara Keene's "Foreign Territory" deals with two increasing common short-story topics - dementia and being a foreign correspondent. I liked it more the more I read and by the end was impressed. Hari Kunzru's piece started well. I liked Josh Raymond's "What does mother know of cormorants?", which had sections like this -

everything has to be arranged around a vast central garland of white flowers: a funeral pyre for an absent swan.
"Aren't the camellias lovely?" Mother says. "I saved them from the rain."
Maria smiles and exhales an obscene, implausible plume, as if she is composed entirely of lung.

Antonia Reed and Alex Preston wrote stories I enjoyed too.

There were quite a few sudden time/PoV switches.

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