Blog Archives

By the Mouth and for the Ear

July 9th 2018

NICOLE MANSOUR responds to the rhythm of William Gass’s short stories: ‘In truth, this musical heartbeat underpins much notable creative prose. And perhaps one of the finest modern examples of it can be found in American writer William Gass’s seminal collection of short stories, In the Heart of the Heart of the Country…’

Editor Interviews: Sean Preston, Open Pen

June 13th 2018

In the first of our new series featuring the editors of literary magazines, David Frankel speaks with Sean Preston, editor of Open Pen Magazine.

Venus and Mars on a Winter Break

June 11th 2018

JO COLE finds that women are still from Venus and men are still from Mars in Hilary Mantel’s short story ‘Winter Break’: ‘Science demonstrates that the differences between men and women are real. Women have 11% more neurons in the brain’s hearing areas than men so consequently can hear better.’

In Him a Bestial Cruelty

June 6th 2018

DR CHRIS MACHELL discusses the themes of James Bond stories and their adaptations: ‘…as the films were not produced in the sequence of the books’ publication, continuity between stories was usually either abandoned altogether or significantly rejigged. This method of adaptation resulted in the films often bearing little resemblance to their source texts…’

Stunted, but Still Standing

March 21st 2018

JULIA ANDERSON follows Stan, the unreliable young narrator of Joanna Campbell’s ‘Upshots’: ‘Campbell’s writing is known for its wry humour, and ‘Upshots’ is no exception as she gives Stan an engagingly naïve voice and many incisively observational one-liners… ’

A View From a Fen

February 12th 2018

A. POYTHRESS explores the psychological landscape of Daisy Johnson’s startling collection, Fen: ‘Jonson’s command of language is something else. It’s stark, plain, and recognisable to those of us who remember the patterns of thought that haunted us when we were trapped in our own small towns growing up…’

Grist and Grain

January 22nd 2018

MIKE SMITH continues his explorations of the stories of H.E. Bates: ‘I recently stumbled upon a copy of H. E. Bates’ 1955 short story collection The Daffodil Sky & other stories. On the cover is a quotation from a reviewer: “contains some of the best tales he has written”.’

Betrayal and Other Acts of Subversion

January 8th 2018

ELEANOR WALSH explores the feminist traits of ‘The Limping Bride’, a powerful short story by Samrat Upadhyay: ‘The most striking tension in the story is the stark disparity between what we as the reader learn about Rukmini’s character, and the other characters’ perception of her…’

Seasonal Writing, Themes of Isolation

December 4th 2017

STORY DISCUSSION: Author MARY O’DONNELL discusses the changing themes in seasonal stories:‘The difference between the then of O. Henry, and the now of contemporary writers, is that we write in a highly nuanced moral atmosphere, so nuanced that the building of ‘uplifting’ lessons into our stories is often avoided…’

The Voice Imitator: Thomas Bernhard’s Existence Machine

July 17th 2017

TOBY PARKER REES looks at life and death in Thomas Bernhard’s laconic short story collection, The Voice Imitator: ‘The qualities of the individual stories are important – they are funny, quietly affecting and beautifully composed – but it is the accrued silence between them that gives The Voice Imitator its heft…’

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