Monday, April 25, 2011

Life on the edge of love and lucidity: a review of The Mistress's Dog by David Medalie

Small, one of the 12 short stories that comprise this volume, David Medalie’s second collection of short fiction, opens with a description of the insomniac Stella.

“At night, when the ticking of the clock reaches into every corner of the darkened room, Stella lies motionless, but awake. These are the hours she dreads… Stella has always had to make to do with small.”

What follows is a description of what most would term a “small” life. Now living in a small bedsit in a retirement home – her small life having precluded her affording a larger cottage – she soon befriends Gwen, who can and does afford a large cottage and soon Stella is manipulated into a friendship with this newcomer...Read more here

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pillowtalk:Author Arja Salafranca

What are you reading?

I'm in the middle of two books of short stories, The Best American Short Stories 2010, edited by Richard Russo and Dead Girls, by Nancy Lee...Read more here

What made you fall in love with books - and how did it happen?

I owe my love of reading to my mother. One of the few pictures of her as a pregnant woman in Spain shows her reading, clutching a book, and so a lifelong love of books was born in me. Finding books in English while living in Spain in the ‘70s and then Israel, wasn’t easy for her – we’re talking pre-internet, pre-Amazon, pre-Kindle – but she managed....Read more here 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review of The Best American Short Stories 2010, edited by Richard Russo

The Best American series, for those unfamiliar with it, consists of a range of stories published in US and Canadian journals from the previous year. About a hundred of these are then read and selected by the guest editor, and, in this year’s case, Richard Russo did the choosing, selecting a final list of 20 stories, now collected in this volume.

I found the stories in this volume exceptionally compelling and readable – with many being of the ├╝ber-lengthy variety, running to many pages, with the writers taking time to tell the tales, really letting each story breathe and glow...Read more here 

Review of Kerry Hammerton's These Are The Lies i Told You

This debut collection of poetry by Kerry Hammerton is a bumper one, numbering just under 60 poems – an impressive number, and more than the average length of a poetry collection.

I like that, though. I like the fact that I felt I could truly enter into Hammerton’s world through the sheer volume of work here.

It’s a particular world, told in a particular voice – a sharp, fun, sassy voice...Read more here

Friday, April 8, 2011

Good news on the short fiction front

Good news on the short fiction front: Arja Salafranca has put together 24 South African short stories which will be published by Dye Hard Press under the title The Edge of Things, a special short fiction issue of the the literary journal Green Dragon...

Read more from BookSA here

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Alternative Anthology Keeps Turning Heads

The depth and breadth of contemporary South African writing in English makes it tough to contain – and makes creative approaches to local anthologies quite welcome. Indeed, quite necessary.

Glass Jars Among Trees is a collection of current South African writing – an alternative anthology of South African prose and poetry that is fresh, compelling and different.

The editors, Arja Salafranca and Alan Finlay, have selected works from published and unpublished writers that reflect a wide variety of writing styles and formats.

Stories in the form of mock movie reviews and film scripts, diary entries, song lyrics, poetry, short fiction, essays, comedy – even opera – make this a comprehensive showcase of South Africa’s new generation of writers.

Kay Benno’s highly inventive “Men with Dead Mothers” tells its rather unusual story through film reviews, while Finuala Dowling’s “Stand-Up Comic” delivers a wry, slightly sad story of a woman’s experiences through the speech of a comedian. “Lioness”, Alan Kolski Horwitz’s slowly unfolding story reveals the trials of a second marriage, and the convoluted triangles couples negotiate as families merge and stepfamilies are formed.

On the nonfiction front, Gary Cummiskey’s essay, “Who was Sinclair Beiles?” probes the life and art of Beiles, South Africa’s sole Beat poet.

The diary entries are numerous and engaging, proving quite concisely that diary writing isn’t a lost art that only the Victorians practised in their flourishing penmanship. Ursula Cox and Carol Leff explore what it means to be women at the close of the 20th century, while Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob lives through the war in Bosnia in 1993 in “Once a Thing is Known – War Diary of a South African Peacekeeper in Bosnia”, bringing to life just what it feels like to be caught up in a war.

Kobus Moolman, on the other hand, is writing in a time of peace, a time of artistic solitude in “Boom St Journal” and Karoo Notebook, bringing to his notebook a series of vignettes, snapshots and thoughts on writing.

Glass Jar Among Trees Homepage

Glass Jars Among Trees by Alan Finlay and Arja Salafranca
EAN: 9781919931234
Buy Glass Jars Among Trees via Bookfinder

(Published on BookSA)