Category > Short stories

The BBC National Short Story Award 2010

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

The BBC National Short Story Award 2010, Jon McGregor,  Sarah Hall, David Constantine,  James Naughtie, book review2010 was the fifth year for the BBC National Short Story Award, one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for the genre. The book includes the winning short story, the runner-up and three others. The stories are presented in alphabetical order of the authors, and by coincidence the first one is also the winning one. The authors are all British, but one of the stories is set in Africa. They concern love affairs, family relationships and the plight of a man living alone in an unusual situation.

The collection opens with David Constantine’s “Tea at the Midland”, the winning entry. James Naughtie praises it in part for its brevity; the story is in fact only just over seven pages long, and within these seven pages are just ten paragraphs. I can understand why this was the winner of the ward, even though it wasn’t a story that I personally enjoyed.

, , , ,

Continue reading

From There to Here

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

From There to Here: The 2nd Decibel Penguin Prize Anthology: 16 True Tales of Immigration to Britain, book reviewDecibel was an initiative set up by the Arts Council of England to promote the work and raise the profile of artists of African, Asian, Chinese and Caribbean descent who live in England. In cooperation with the publishers Penguin, a writing prize was set up in 2005 called (not surprisingly) the Decibel Penguin Prize. As well as offering an annual prize for the best novel by a qualifying writer, they organised non-fiction writing competitions, requesting personal accounts of the immigrant experience and gathering the best of them into anthologies.

I’m sure some people will find it ironic (or perhaps amusing depending on their point of view) that the prize fell foul of the Commission for Racial Equality in 2007. The CRE ruled that by restricting the geographic origins of the writers, the prize was – for want of a better adjective – racist. The prize was widened to include ALL writers who are immigrants to Britain and this book – From There to Here – is the second anthology created by Decibel and Penguin and the first that post-dates the change in the rules.


Continue reading

The Girl Who Married a Lion

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

The Girl Who Married a Lion: Adult Edition: by Alexander McCall Smith, book reviewI’ve been a fan of Alexander McCall Smith for some years now – his novels are light, gently amusing and always an enjoyable and easy read. He is most famous for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, set in Botswana, and he love Africa. He has also published a collection of African folk tales, The Girl Who Married A Lion; this was originally published in 1989 as The Children of Wax, but has been updated since then and includes tales from Zimbabwe and Botswana.

I’ve often seen The Girl Who Married a Lion on library shelves, but was never particularly desperate to read it.


Continue reading

La Grosse Fifi

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

La Grosse Fifi By Jean Rhys, book review, Penguin mini modernsThis review is a part of book blog event in celebration of 50th anniversary of Penguin Modern Classics. To mark the anniversary Penguin is launching a brand new series: The Mini Moderns – a collection of outstanding short-stories and novellas in convenient, pocket-sized and pocket-money priced editions. Curious Book Fans are contributing with the reviews of Youth by Joseph Conrad and La Grosse Fifi by Jean Rhys. You can read more about the Penguin Mini Moderns and book blogging event here.

The sleek, stylish design chosen for Penguin Mini Modern Classics is perfect for Jean Rhys’s ‘La Grosse Fifi’ and other stories. Within a few lines I was transported to another place and time – in the case of the title story it’s the south of France just after the end of the First World War; the silver cover of the book seemed to me like an extravagant novelty to have sticking out of a glamorous evening bag carried on a night at the casino, or thrown casually on the seat of a gleaming Bugatti while driving down to Cannes. Quite simply, the packaging fits this little gem!

Although not the longest of the four stories featured here, ‘La Grosse Fifi’ is certainly the most memorable.

,

Continue reading

No One Belongs Here More Than You

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

No One Belongs Here More Than You By Miranda JulyNo One Belongs Here More Than You is a collection of short stories by Miranda July, published by Canongate in 2008. I’ve been listening to the audiobook, read by the author herself.

July’s stories are about everyday people, their lives, their secrets, their thoughts and desires. Her narrators are primarily female, although not exclusively, and are a varied range of ages. There are no particularly extraordinary events in the stories,


Continue reading

From the Dawn of Time

Buy book online

Buy book online

Legends of The Lepchas: Folk Tales from Sikkim by Yishey DomaThe Lepchas are a tribe who we hear about or encounter intermittently – the smiling faced people who inhabit parts of the Dooars, Darjeeling, Nepal, south western Bhutan and Sikkim – glimpsed perhaps on a holiday or seen in their tribal finery in photographs. As with all tribal folk, the Lepchas have their own rich lore of folk tales, stories of how the world they call their own began. ‘In the beginning there was nothing …Then Itbu-moo, the Mother Creator, shaped the mountains, the rivers, and the lakes. But something was missing. Why did her creation feel empty? So, taking a fresh ball of snow, she created the first man’ whose name was Fudonthing.

, ,

Continue reading

A Song of Diaspora

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

The New Anthem: The Subcontinent in Its Own Words Edited by Ahmede HussainThere are certain things that we can now deduce from the subcontinent – that most of the writers in the anthology would prefer to be somewhere else. That South Asia is unfailingly a place of domestic violence, poverty and oppression, best looked at during brief visits from outside the country and then left behind. This may seem to be a harsh assessment but in story after story, this is what emerges.

Ahmede Hussain’s anthology brings together what he describes as ‘strong new voices in South Asian fiction’ that hold the mirror up to the countries they inhabit and put down the reflections in their own words. The 22 short stories are by names we have heard of, Raj Kamal Jha, Kamila Shamsie, Mahmud Rahman, Padma Viswanathan, Khademul Islam, Mohsin Hamid, Monideepa Sahu and Amit Chaudhuri and some of the chosen pieces come from noted, award winning novels.

,

Continue reading

Small Troubled Worlds

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

An assembly of minute details observed with a sensitive eye and put together in a series of stories that celebrate every day life. Nighat Gandhi’s Ghalib at Dusk is noteworthy because of the fact that the author manages to put her finger on the common pulse that unites daily life in Pakistan and India.Ghalib at Dusk and Other Stories  By Nighat Majid The stories crisscross places and cultures, travelling from Karachi to Ahmedabad and Allahabad, towns that are out of the mainstream bustle. They also traverse emotional tangles and domestic dilemmas and the contrast between outward life and inner emotions.

This is most apparent in the story that gives the collection its title, the tale of the partially handicapped Babar who lives with his sisters and is a Ghalib aficionado.

, ,

Continue reading

Murder in the Dark

Buy book online

Buy book online Buy book online Buy book online

Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems By Margaret AtwoodHaving thoroughly enjoyed several of Margaret Atwood’s novels, from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale‘ through ‘Surfacing’ to ‘Alias Grace’, I was intrigued to see ‘Murder in the Dark’ described as a collection of ‘short fictions and prose poems’. I make several long bus journeys a week, and if you’re sandwiched between giggling schoolgirls and someone booming down their mobile phone while the guy at the back is singing along to Alice Cooper on his ipod, it’s not an atmosphere conducive to getting absorbed in a five-hundred page novel. But these little gems take just a couple of minutes each to read and each demands to be savoured before you go on to the next one.

,

Continue reading

prev posts