Story in Short #28: The Creation

Mrs. Banks looked down over the sodden lawn and tried to ignore the wailing coming from the upstairs bedroom. Thick clouds rolled in over the lake with the grim promise of more rain. The flames of Edward’s fire glowed orange in the wet haze, flickering out of his hut window, down by the lake. Mrs.…

(Not-really-a) Story in Short #27: Ode to a Billboard

Dream, asks the billboard. Asks? This the 21st century. Dream! The billboard demands I dream.  Without the billboard I have no dreams, without my dreams the billboard has no purpose. Bold and agitating, the billboard greets me at 3:30 pm each day when I leave Victoria station on the southbound train for Margate. Dream! What…

Stories in (super) Short #26: Miss Hawthorn’s cakes

There’ll always be cakes in Miss Hawthorn’s shop window. Creamy round cakes topped with cherries and pink glazing that turns sweaty in the sun. Although the grime and the dust of the busy street, pounded by the crowd’s busy feet, dirties and stains the glass of Miss Hawthorn’s shop window, the cakes always look so…

Book of the week: Shusaku Endo, Stained Glass Elegies

Torture, simplicity and constipation This is the first time delving into any Japanese literature beyond Murakami, and Endo has impressed me. Mainly an autobiographical sort of writing – not unlike the Russian literature I was reading a few weeks back – Endo tackles the issue of growing up as Christian Japanese and explores how this…

Misery Confirmed 1

misery confirmed Fren Burt is sitting across from me drinking a milk and vodka on the rocks. Too poor to afford coffee liqueur, too politically correct to order a ‘white’ Russian. There’s a wasp in my beer. Sunlight refracts through the glass onto its squirming body. Nobody saves a drowning wasp, do they? They will…

On ‘In Patagonia’: get me out of this office

Bruce Chatwin’s formative In Patagonia is inspiring, not only because of the alluring wilderness the book focuses on, but because the book itself defies all the tropes of its genre. You’d be hard-pressed to call this just ‘travel writing.’ Think more…fictionalised non-fiction, with a significant focus on space, place and the distinction between the two.…

On Tendryakov and Solzhenitsyn

  I finished “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” in a rapid two days, caught up in the Kazakhstan snowstorm that is this novel. A scarcity of language that matched the bare exposure of the gulag system, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s controversial work gave me a new light on how much can be said with very little.…