Ox-Tales: Air by Oxfam

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Ox-Tales: Air by Oxfam

Category: Short Stories
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A collection of short stories donated to Oxfam by household names with at least 50p from the sale of each new book going to Oxfam. The quality is a little uneven and the link a little tenuous but most people should find more than one story to their liking.
Buy? Yes Borrow? No
Pages: 208 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Green Profile
ISBN: 978-1846682612

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Four books of short stories each taking (rather loosely on occasions) as a theme one of the elements: Earth, Fire, Water, and this book Air, sold in aid of Oxfam but not about Oxfam's work. The writers, many household names, have given their work for free and at least 50p from the sale of each new book goes to Oxfam. That's not entirely the point though, is it? You want to know if the book is worth buying.

It seems traditional in anthologies of short stories to have two which frame the others and which start and finish the book on a high note. If you're an aficionado of Alexander McCall Smith then you're going to be happy, but there's no one quite like the man for polarising opinion. His story of the young woman living on a Scottish Sea Loch and her relationship with an Italian is one you will love or, er, not. Helen Fielding whose story closes the book gives an excerpt from an unpublished novel. Paradise is not quite the paradise that many of the guests at the Spice Island Hotel might have hoped for but I had to laugh at some of the management-speak which the young manager had not quite mastered.

Helen Simpson came closest to the Oxfam ethos with her story about the man who has qualms from an ecological point of view about his long distance relationship with a woman, but it was Kamila's Shamsie's story of a man transporting a statue across the desert appealled most to me. Her style of writing seems ideally suited to the short story.

DBC Pierre's story set in Trinidad is perhaps the meatiest of the collection with its tale of the street boy who fetched up in an office building. Perhaps the most welcome piece was from Beryl Bainbridge with her story of a very strange radio. A L Kennedy's story Vanishing is a treat.

With other stories from Vikram Seth, Diran Adebayo and Louise Welsh there will be something to appeal to most people, although I doubt that anyone will be delighted by them all.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Buy Ox-Tales: Air by Oxfam at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ox-Tales: Air by Oxfam at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Ox-Tales: Air by Oxfam at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ox-Tales: Air by Oxfam at Amazon.com.


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