The Rental Heart and other fairytales by Kirsty Logan
An impressive debut collection of short stories. I enjoyed all of these. Some are saucy, others surreal and I love how many really did end happily.
Kirsty Logan recently won the 2015 Polari First Book Award for this collection.
(I was lucky enough to get my copy signed by Kirsty at the London Short Story Festival back in June. She is absolutely lovely and genuinely believes in happy endings.)
The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies
An absorbing and imaginative second collection of short stories from VS Pritchett winner, Carys Davies. I didn't take to all of these, a couple had late twists to the stories which I felt came too quickly to close the story but many were excellent. The title story is one of the best.
Carys Davies has just won the 2015 Frank O' Connor International Short Story Award for this collection.
Clown’s Shoes is Rebecca F John’s debut collection of short stories and what a blazing collection of images it is. Several stories come with an excellent pedigree such as The Sunday Times EFG shortlisted The Glove Maker’s Numbers and Salting Home, listed for the Manchester Prize. I enjoyed the setting of each story as John seems to easily flit across time periods from the Victorian madhouse of The Glove Maker’s Numbers to a concentration camp in WWII. Others have a more contemporary feel or are suitably timeless in setting. I loved how her stories touched on a multitude of themes and concepts sweeping from live naked theatre shows of the 20s (Clown’s Shoes) to a death defying magic stunt (Bullet Catch). Clearly, this is a short story writer who pursues her fascinations and obsessions rather than concentrating on one theme – I relished this aspect of the collection as each story came as a complete package. Starting a new story was like unwrapping a gift, you had a hint of the contents from the title, but once inside it was a unique surprise – a genuine treat. A couple of the stories towards the end of the collection didn’t quite hit the mark for me, such as Running for Bernie (I’m not a fan of reproducing dialect/speech too accurately and this quickly began to irritate within the story, for me) and Hunting Shishe, which didn’t reel me in. One of my absolute favourites was Salting Home, a story about a long missing child returned home and the issues that linger after the happy reunion. I wanted to know so much more about the characters.
Rebecca F John has just been announced as the 2015 PEN International/New Voices Award for her short story Moon Dog (which is included in Clown's Shoes).
Have you read any of the above writers? Do share if you have any favourite contemporary short story writers...