Have to admit that generally don't read short stories - and don't really understand why! But... have started reading and enjoying the anthology so am going to buy a copy. A proper review to follow when I have finished it - promise!!
A particular favourite of mine was 'Losing my Voice' by Ania Leslie-Wujstyk. Its's a story of two women who one day get their voices 'crossed' and whatever one of them says, comes out of the other one's mouth too. I noticed in her biography in the back of the anthology that it was performed on stage by some students. I can imagine that worked realy well. The way it is written really intensified the claustrophobic feeling that the women must be feeling when they realise that they are fated to always have to speak each other's words. The desperate need for silence when you can't have it really comes through. A few really good touches of humour in there too. I was impressed by the way Ania managed to make a premise which initially sounded completely unbelievable into a credible condition that I was utterly convinced by at the end. I really liked some of the other stories in the anthology too, but this one really captured my imagination.
I loved the anthology! Each story was undeniably creative and often kept me guessing right until the end. I particularly enjoyed 'The Secret of the Perfect Vegetarian Risotto for One' - it was chilling to read such an impersonal account of murder but with an unusual domestic twist. Where these storytellers get their inspiration from is beyond me; it was really refreshing to read such a different collection of stories.
What a great anthology! Most of the short story anthologies I read are all penned by the same author, which provides a great peek into one person's mind, but doesn't keep you on your toes quite as much as this fascinating collection... I loved the fact that my reactions to the stories were so varied...further details below... *Spoiler alerts* The Barman & the Gargoyle - What a great story! It's one of those stories that I wished could have been longer, and not just b/c of the ending...I wanted to get into Woman #1's past, to find out why she would accept this baby so easily...argh! and Woman #2, what a great character...especially with the weird quirky bits of her behavior after her accident, where the things she does make sense and don't make sense at the same time...really really great... Dream Machine - This story was just hilarious, though with a slightly bittersweet, nostalgic feeling at the end, as the character yearns for what he once had... Imagine Nation - I...What a great anthology! Most of the short story anthologies I read are all penned by the same author, which provides a great peek into one person's mind, but doesn't keep you on your toes quite as much as this fascinating collection... I loved the fact that my reactions to the stories were so varied...further details below... *Spoiler alerts* The Barman & the Gargoyle - What a great story! It's one of those stories that I wished could have been longer, and not just b/c of the ending...I wanted to get into Woman #1's past, to find out why she would accept this baby so easily...argh! and Woman #2, what a great character...especially with the weird quirky bits of her behavior after her accident, where the things she does make sense and don't make sense at the same time...really really great... Dream Machine - This story was just hilarious, though with a slightly bittersweet, nostalgic feeling at the end, as the character yearns for what he once had... Imagine Nation - I loved the way this author played with language, substituting words for one another and playing with names, etc... Losing My Voice - This story sort of hurt to read - I really was quite saddened by it...I mean, there is a bit of humor, but it's a dark humor, b/c it was so sad to imagine these poor women losing not only their voices but also their distinct individual selves...just tragic, really! Out of Office Reply - I broke up laughing during this one, several times...I especially liked the sighing, 'yes sir' attitude that Peter seemed to have... Penelope - One of the two best stories in the anthology...such a fascinating look into the different aspects of one's identity and the tricks our minds can play on us...truly great... The Psychiatrist and the Pea - I liked it and I didn't like it...there were parts I found humorous, especially the pea's perspective on being the unwilling participant in the princess' test, and its homicidal attempts when witnessing the bodies of its fallen associates...but I didn't really like the psychiatrist at all and I found the whole interlude with the cat to be a bit odd...I don't know - I had liked the story starting it, but towards the end, I was like, meh, next please! Quite Unlike Hepburn - I really, really liked this story, I would have loved to read it in an expanded form...really interesting... Slow Life - The second of what I consider the two best stories in the collection...so amazingly vivid, I could picture each scene in its entirety... The Society of Noncommitals - Yay! I broke out laughing so many times; really fun and lighthearted (and also a bit of a spoof on academic writing which, as an english major, I can COMPLETELY understand, lol)... The Secret of the Perfect Vegetarian Risotto for One - As the story progresses, I felt it was equal parts humor and tragedy...with emphasis on the latter until the very end...it was good, but I just felt for the woman so badly, it was hard to jump back into the 'you go girl!' mode... The Change - Okay, this was the story that most surprised/caught me off guard...like, completely...the joke was on me, I must admit b/c the ending was NOT what I expected, lol... (more)
This is a very enjoyable collection of short stories. Whilst they are all written by different authors tackling totally different (and unique) ideas, there is an undercurrent of oddness and humour that means the whole anthology works together and demands not to be put down! It also means you will get genuine chuckles from the unexpected twists and shifting styles of the pieces. And these really are all great pieces. I'd like to give particular mention to Dream Machine (very funny but with a sweet moral behind it that was actually quite moving), as well as Imagine Nation (which read to me like Philip K Dick meets the Jabberwocky) and The Society of Noncommittals. Oh, and Penelope was hilarious too. These are just some that stood out though, and there is plenty to be enjoyed. I also hope that CompletelyNovel does similar things in future, the book was a great way to bring together some new, fresh and different reading material for readers!
Some good writers in here but the stand out is the "risotto for one" story - wow - didn't see that one coming.
I finally wrestled one away from my son who his it after naming the fish averting away from the others 'Erdis' his pet. This book is reckless, spicy and bonkers with a hint of mother's advice. How responsible is that?! It explores the four waal of the writing world - The End of discovery, The Hman Dominoe effect, dream manipulation and completely losing it. I gave it a five star rating, the perfect pick-me -up for any day at a non-existent price.
The book lives up to its title-odd, quirky and cut through with humour and the odd dash of unbridled horror. I'm not a great short story fan, but this collection proved consistently strong and the writing creative and constantly engaging. Any plans for a follow up?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading through these short stories. There was such a diverse amount of voices and writing styles that managed to work together to produce a really weird and wonderful set of worlds. Congratulations on getting such a huge project completed in such a small amount of time. This is living proof that Completely Novel is going places!
I don't usually read short story collections as a rule but I found this particular set to be fresh and engaging. I really enjoyed ‘The Secret of the Perfect Vegetarian Risotto for One’ like another reader on the site. I'm actually vegetarian and thought "Hmmm" this will be interesting and then really didn't expect the ending although I had the feeling something was brewing up. I'll buy a copy of this book to add to my home library in order to be able to say I really have something in there that's "completely different". Well done CN for giving reading a different twist! Bryony
A wondeful collection of short stories, each one different and intriguing in its own right. I love the variety of humour and mystery that these tales have. An anthology that has spunk and is memorable, fun and interesting to read.