Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kindling by Stephen Livingston

A collection of twelve tales by award winning short story author Stephen Livingston. Written in a wide range of styles and covering a variety of themes.


1. Choose Your Future - Winner of the Canongate Prize for New Writing, first published in the anthology "Scotland into the New Era".

2. Recycling - First published in the anthology "Scores 4" by the University of St. Andrews, Department of English.

3. The Waster's Tale - Winner of the EndPapers Tales Series Prize, first published in the anthology "Glasgow Tales".

4. The Wheel of Justice - Hilarious dark humour set on a near future TV game show in the U.S.

5. She Won't Call - A snapshot of student life.

6. A Cataract of Breaking Glass - A sad tale of love and loss.

7. Come Dancing - One page sketch combining sex and music.

8. The Farmer's Right Arm - Modern technology meets faith on the farm.

9. Jaipur Gems - A tourist meets the gangsters of the gemstone business in India.

10. The Adventures of Freddie the Moth - A tale of metamorphosis.

11. Work Abroad - Hopes of a new future aren't always what they seem.

12. The Tell-Tale Trunk - Contemporary reworking of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Tell-Tale Heart".

Short story collections are always tricky to read, and therefore to review, since many times the reader doesn’t get a feeling for the author’s writing. This one, however, surprised me.

The writing is effortless. Even one of the stories, “Choose Your Future”, which is written in second person, flows really well. Anyone who’s ever tried writing in that tense can understand why this is such a feat. But it’s not just this story. They all have different styles; none of them sound quite the same as the ones before, which is fantastic, and refreshing.

One of the more interesting stories is “The Waster’s Tale.” It is written so that we know the main character has a strong accent, so it can be a little challenging to read, but the story itself is so great, once you get started you can’t put it down. Another good one is “Work Abroad”, about young women who are promised jobs in Europe, only to be sold into slavery. Tough to read, but well written.

This is definitely a good collection for all lovers of short stories and I do recommend it.

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