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, 8 April 2017

"Unthology 9", Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones (eds)

Spoiler alert

  • "A Trip Out" (Juno Baker) - Jim fears going our because of the cars, but he has to go out anyway to save his illicit plants.
  • "Yellow" (Roelof Bakker) - The partner of a swimmer who was lost at sea sees someone die in a swimming pool, then tries to kill himself at sea. But he's saved.
  • "Trap" (Judy Birkbeck) - a male composer and female artist move to a remote cottage. He continues to have international successes. She gets worked up about animal cruelty, and leaves him.
  • "May Day" (SJ Butler) - In lyrical prose, we read about widowed Harry, his longing for the sea, a lost ball, a tree. "hand in hand, they climb higher and higher, they swing with the waves, on and on, till there's nowhere to fall, and nothing to hold but air, and he lets go".
  • "You May as Well Give up Trying to Make Something of Yourself" (Gordon Collins) - A kidney operation with a difference. I like it.
  • "A debt" (Dan Coxon) - Greg saves a suicider then abandons him, passing the buck (actually, a figurine of a man with a cat) to his sister as she's struggling with cats.
  • "As Linda was Buying the Tulips" (Sarah Dobbs) - Set in New York. A male artist has a strange relationship with his sexy mother. Then Linda comes into their lives.
  • "In Rehearsal" (Sarah Evans) - An ambitious, childless surgeon saves a newborn with a risky operation.
  • "I" (Rosie Gailor) - While drowning herself in the bath, a character recalls some liquid-related episodes when self-respect was weakened or re-enforced. A works kitchen is mentioned.
  • "About Time" (Tania Hershman) - Time machines, with a twist.
  • "Scapegoat" (Tim Love) - The main character's flexible personae appear in a few episodes starting in a works kitchen, involving allegedly a cancer sufferer, ending with an attempted death by water.
  • "Motes" (Mark Mayes) - the main character takes on a strange job. I like the style. It's my favourite piece so far - p.36 is my favourite page of the book.
  • "Breathless" (Jane Roberts) - a 3-page deathbed scene. The woman's partner had left her. He has returned for her final days.
  • "My knee" (John D Rutter) - A couple who are about to divorce (she was unfaithful) are involved in a car accident that's not their fault. He loses his cool with the other driver, punching her.
  • "Traffic" (Nick Sweeney) - Set in Kiev. A mother contemplates a new life, planning to sell her baby.
  • "Marlboro Country" (Tim Sykes) - Set in a (Russian?) ward of (terminal?) patients. A carer overdoses a patient hoping that she'll have a few minutes of bliss.
  • "Double Concerto for Two Violins" (Jonathan Taylor) - Music and memories of a concentration camp.

Death and suicide are frequent. So is water. Females are less faithful than males. The only standard family unit in the book ("Trap") won't last much longer. On the plus side there are no sandwich-generation stories, and no stories centred around Alzheimer's.

It's available on the Kindle

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