Our Little Secret and Other Stories by John E Flannery
|Our Little Secret and Other Stories by John E Flannery|
|Category: Short Stories|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A collection of dark short stories makes demanding and thought-provoking reading.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 283kb||Date: February 2012|
|Publisher: John Flannery Press|
It's over eighteen months since we first encountered John Flannery and his debut collection of shorts stories, Toby's Little Eden. A golf course near Manchester and the characters who populated it came sharply to life and we laughed and we smiled along with them. Things are different in Our Little Secret and Other Stories as we encounter violent death, suicide, delusion and mental illness. It's a good read but it's certainly not a comfortable one.
In the first story we encounter The World's Greatest Dad - or at least that's what it says on his coffee mug. He and his family have been used to the better things in life but bankruptcy has humiliated him. His way out is one that he can never regret: he murders his wife and daughter and then kills himself. It's stream-of-consciousness writing and very effective. In Our Little Secret a schizophrenic girl is in a London Underground Station and she and her internal voice are discussing her future - or what remains of it. It could have been trite but I was struck by the way that Flannery established the girl and her voice as two very distinct personalities in relatively few words.
My favourite story was A Very Special Delivery as a box - about a metre square - is delivered to the home of Arthur and Florence Watkins. It's a piece of delightful whimsy as we work our way through their thought processes. There are gifts in Peace and Goodwill too as the paths of Harry Manning and Don Pickering cross twice in one evening, with fatal consequences on the second occasion.
The story which has stayed with me is that of the law student who has delusions of becoming a best-selling novel writer. His descent from sanity makes Bestseller compulsive reading. On the other hand, if you're short of a very original marketing ploy for your literary output, The Suicide Note is difficult to better. Closest in style to the Flannery of Toby's Little Eden is A Little Mancunian Love Story which teases with the fibs a couple of young people tell each other and which unravel in a very short time.
A couple of experimental pieces, other stories and some poetry complete the collection. It could have stood a rigorous proof-read but was a thought-provoking and demanding read. I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Looking for more short stories? we think you might enjoy Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod.
You can read more book reviews or buy Our Little Secret and Other Stories by John E Flannery at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Our Little Secret and Other Stories by John E Flannery at Amazon.com.
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