Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review of Willesden Herald New Short Stories 5, edited by Stephen Moran

This volume collects together the 12 finalists for the annual Willesden Herald short story competition. As with any anthology some will resonate and stand out more than others. Surprisingly for an anthology of stories selected from a wide variety of entrants, there does appear to be a unifying theme of interiority, meditation, threads of isolation and ways of dealing with grief running through the majority of these stories. What's remarkable too, is that many of these stories deal with tight, closed worlds, each world perfectly explored and described, and yet also, equally insular. While this feature is true of many short stories – the genre is one of brevity and a tight collection of characters – this seems especially pronounced in this selection. Perhaps the fact that many of the characters are locked up within worlds of grief and sadness lends weight to my overall impression. However this is by no means a negative comment: many of the stories were gripping, interesting, worthy pieces which linger on long after the initial reading, surely the mark of a story that rises above the rest...Read more here

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