Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Review - Other Stories... by Gerard Brennan

A collection of five short stories, some previously published in magazines, anthologies and websites.

Like the previously reviewed Possession… these are very well written story nuggets, all quite different, but all based in Belfast.

In Bouncer a hard man ‘door manager’ tries to relate to his gay son. It’s an unusual mix of angst, violence (as the bouncer struggles to reconcile his feelings whilst on the job) and touching humility. It’s well done.

Hard Rock is entirely different. It’s a grimy story of excess, manslaughter and attempted necrophilia. The protagonist, a rock star called Joey, has a girl in his hotel room after a gig but it all goes horribly wrong. The following quote is an example of the writing:

I stood up and looked around the room. Cocaine on the table. Dead girl cuffed to the bed. Dead fat man laid out on the floor. Blood-covered rockstar, stinking of puke and clutching the murder weapon, swaying on his feet.
Nothing But Time is a very brief story about a tout in prison and realizing it’s going to be a long stretch. The writing made me very glad I’ve never been put inside.

Day-Tripping is perhaps the oddest of the collection. James goes round to his
estranged friend Mattie’s place. James has a decent job, Mattie is a dope head. James ends up in hospital after an accident. However the incident brings the pair back together and they become friends again – in the strangest of circumstances.

Swing is again about friends, although Conor and Stevie are both at school. Conor used to be the cool kid, until his parents swinging activities becomes public knowledge and his stock plummets. Stevie is there to defend him until Conor goes one shocking step too far.

These stories are very well written, tight and neat that leaves the reader with sometimes shock, often surprise and sometimes questions. The characters are excellently drawn in a very small number of words. The dialogue is neat too. It doesn’t take long to plough through this collection, however I suspect it’s something I’ll go back to a couple of times…
Rating? Five Stars
Would add this to my bookshelf? Oh yes!
Originally reviewed for Books & Pals blog.

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