The Crabber Stories by Francis Bennett

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The Crabber Stories by Francis Bennett

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Category: Short Stories
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A delightful, coming-of-age collection of short stories set on the shores of Long Island in the nineteen-fifties. They work a magic on you and it was a real pleasure to read them. Francis Bennett popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 134 Date: January 2012
Publisher: Francis Bennett

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John White was known to everyone as Crabber - a nickname which he once earned and which then stuck - and he grew up on the shores of Long Island in the nineteen-fifties. It was a close-knit community and a time when children had more freedom than they are likely to be allowed now. We watch as Crabber grows from being a boy still suffering from the death of his elder brother when we first met him through to a time when he's old enough to go on a hunting trip on the mainland with a local family. He tells his own stories, as truthfully as he can and with the sort of insight which children have before life injects its cynicism.

I usually have a problem with short stories: when I've read one I find it all too easy to put the book down and not return to it. This didn't happen with The Crabber Stories. They are short stories in the true sense of the word, each one complete in itself with the only links being the narrator and a common setting. But I found myself drawn into the community and I wanted to know more of it in much the same way that I will never tire of hearing what is happening in the village where I live. Francis Bennett tells us that the location and the characters are fictitious - but within a few pages they were completely real to me.

Crabber is a wonderful creation. He's a lad, as capable of mischief as any other. Trailing Crooked-Ass Annie home to find out where she lived was not kind, but he got his comeuppance. He's also got an innate honesty - he's appalled by the very idea of ripping off the blind fish dealer as others are doing and confused because he's annoyed with the fish dealer for being ripped off. There's wisdom in the stories too, when Crabber encounters the tramp who says that he can do without money, but not without respect. I liked that. What was really impressive was that the stories could have become overly sentimental - but never did.

Earlier this week I had one of those dreadful days which leave you wound up and cross and I reached for a book to relax with. I didn't think about it - I picked up The Crabber Stories because I knew that I would feel better for reading them. I did. Crabber worked his magic in these seven, beautifully written stories. I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you're looking for more short stories we can recommend The Man in the Shed by Lloyd Jones.

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Buy The Crabber Stories by Francis Bennett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Crabber Stories by Francis Bennett at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Crabber Stories by Francis Bennett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Crabber Stories by Francis Bennett at

Bookinterviews.jpg Francis Bennett was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.


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