A Collection of Short Stories by Gillian Fletcher-Edwards
|A Collection of Short Stories by Gillian Fletcher-Edwards|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Sharply-observed, fine-detailed short stories that are inspired by author's life as a miner's daughter but which have as many insights on life today as her life in the past. A pleasure to read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 151||Date: November 2016|
Marged Evans allowed a break-up with a lover to affect everything in her life. Osian wanted to invest in the present but Marged loved the past. Since they drifted apart, Marged's life has been careful, ordered, unadventurous. But then Osian sends her a Christmas card and everything changes. Marged Evans is the first and longest in this collection of short stories from Gillian Fletcher-Edwards. It's almost a novella and its initially slow pace sets off quite the masterclass in how one event can throw everything into unexpected - but lovely - chaos.
The other stories are shorter and more pointed but equally delightful. Oi, You! speaks movingly about child abuse and its depersonalisation of its victims. The Bully is clearsighted about peer pressure and the courage required to reject it. The Annual Outing is a gorgeous social document about the times when, en masse, miners and their families escaped the pits for a few days. Who cared if it rained? My father talks about annual fruit-picking trips for the people of the cities in the same way. Mother's Day is an affecting story of a son repaying the dedication of his single mother with his own dedication, supported by his community. There's more, but you should find it all out for yourself.
This is a thoroughly satisfying collection of short stories. I loved reading them. Gillian Fletcher-Edwards grew up as the daughter of a mining family in South Wales and her writing is infused with an honest and affectionate picture of the lives of people like herself and her family. And yes, there was grimness and poverty but there was also love and joy and a vivid cultural life. And ambition, too: Fletcher-Edwards became a teacher and credits the hard work of her parents enabling her to reach for her own stars. Working class voices are thin on the ground in literature and we need more of them. The themes here are as applicable to our 21st century world as to the period that inspired them.
The writing is elegant and precise and the voice of each character is strong and pressing, delivering compelling and absorbing slices of internal lives and dreams. I finished the book wanting more and I hope Fletcher-Edwards doesn't stop with this collection. I'd love to read another as this one not only made me feel nostalgic but also invested in both present and future.
If short stories appeal to you and if you like a sure and certain authorial tone and perspective, you'll love this slim volume. It's one you'll continue to think about long after you've turned the last page.
Other short story collections we have thoroughly enjoyed include The American Lover by Rose Tremain and My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions by Tania Hershman.
A Collection of Short Stories by Gillian Fletcher-Edwards is in the Top Ten Self-Published Books 2016.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Collection of Short Stories by Gillian Fletcher-Edwards at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Collection of Short Stories by Gillian Fletcher-Edwards at Amazon.com.
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