The Short Review will be relaunching in November 2012 - watch this space!

June 2012

Letter from The Editor

This issue will be the last Short Review issue for a little while, the journal will be on hiatus for at least a few months while we take stock and think, for the first time since its inception in 2007, about how to take it forward.

This journal began with me and a few of my friends and has grown beyond my wildest dreams - with over 50 reviewers worldwide. However, success and growth bring their own challenges and what has been done by me and my fantastic deputy editor, Diane, as a labour of love is now becoming somewhat of a burden on us. This is in great part due to technology, and we are in urgent need of funding in order to allow us to upgrade the website to make everyone's lives easier.

   This is not the end of The Short Review, there is still nothing - as far as I know - out there fulfilling the same function, much as I wish there were ten such journals, and so we will find new ways to proceed, a new incarnation. I have posted this on the blog too and we welcome your thoughts and ideas, please comment over there. Keep an eye on the blog for updates.

While we are contemplating, please do check out our
back issues and archives of reviews and interviews, you will find many many ideas of short story collections and anthologies to read! And enjoy our June issue below...
See you back here soon.
All the best,
Editor, The Short Review

This month we happen to have ten single-author collections, one of which was first published in 1933 and may well be the first novel-in-flash-stories. We have company k on the best road yet in a little america of drifting houses, the melancholy of anatomy, blindfold in the silence room with a domestic apparition and the shelter of neighbours, once upon a decade. Interestingly, out of the five authors interviewed, three had recently been reading Alice Munro's short stories...


Drifting House
  by Krys Lee

"Still,he soldiered his siblings up the mountain slope of granite and bare, spectral trees with the assurance of an oldest son. His legs shook under his sister’s slight weight. As they continued, the town’s narrow harmonica houses, the empty factories, even the glorious statue of Kim Il-sung, their Great Leader and the Dear Leader’s father, shrank to the size of a thumbnail. Then their town was gone.."

"This is a strong haunting debut collection by a writer unflinching in her examination of the costs of war..."  Read the full review  by Elaine Chiew

The Silence Room
  by Sean O'Brien

"Because when it comes, the action will not be a matter of words and pages and references and revision and the drainpipe-grey bureaucracy of knowledge, but something more urgent and physical. What that day is here we shall do no more reading. This is the contract between watcher and watched. It is the iron law of the story."

"Smoky, chewy, salty tales. ..." Read the full review by Aiden O'Reilly

The Shelter Of Neighbours
by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne

"As I lay in my bed I heard the noises of the night – barks and howls and hoots and screams. It was comforting to lie tucked up under the patchwork quilt, watching the moon gleam coldly over the branch of the fir tree outside my window, and listen to the nocturnal symphony..."
"Modern women quietly rebel in these stories; and some contemporary writers fall apart..." Read the full review by Nuala Ní Chonchúir

Domestic Apparition
by Meg Tuite

"Every night my grandmother limps out of a liquor store with the submissive stoop of the genuflected and the promise of a liturgy to come in a bottle."
"A stunning novel-in-stories told in tantalizing, fresh language about a family whose methods of expressing itself is so alarming that the different members actually endanger each other..." Read the full review by Bonnie ZoBell

by Brian George

"We played this game when we kids. Being the older brother, I’d always end up leading Jack. I’d take him down to the old mine workings, or up the mountain to where Nant y Bychan rushed by like an angry whisper. Then I’d untie the bandanna, he’d open his eyes and gaze at the rusting machinery, or the silver water, as if he was looking at the world for the first time. ..."
"Strong, delicately-drawn and heartfelt glimpses of real lives..." Read the full review by Sarah Hilary

Best Road Yet
by Ryan Stone

"He told me his dog was worth $5000. We were on the front porch that faced an open lot across the street. The dirt blew off the yard and spun in the wind. His wife kept coming out on the porch and offering us water, which we both refused, me because he did. She kept saying, Don’t listen to anything he says. He’s an idiot and going back in the house with the screen door banging behind her. He shook his head each time and shrugged at me...."
"A collection of intriguing glimpses into human nature. The light and dark intertwined, feeding on each other, keeping the reader guessing until the very end... " Read the full review by Daniela Norris

Once Upon A Decade: Tales of the Fifties
by Clark Zlotchew

"He turned his head to the left. The train was in sight, gleaming in the sun. It came from far-off places. It was shiny, beautiful, as it sped smoothly along the tracks, free as the birds overhead..."
"A diverse collection of tales that create a vivid portrait of life in the 1950s: both beautiful and dark..." Read the full review by Emma Young

Little America
  by Diane Simmons

"It was on a top bunk in the never-ending roar of the California State Prison at Folsom that he started reading about Alaska, going every night into its immense and perfect silence. He read everything there was on Alaska. Then he got an idea. Go there really. Go someplace were you can make up your own life. Where nothing is ugly. Where there’s nobody else to screw things up..."
"Fast moving stories that travel across the American West..." Read the full review by Loree Westron

The Melancholy of Anatomy
  by Shelley Jackson

"Sperm are ancient creatures, single-minded as coelacanths. They are drawn to the sun, the moon, and dots and disks of all descriptions, including periods, stop signs, and stars. They worship at nail heads, doorknobs and tennis balls. More than one life has been saved by a penny tossed in the air."
"This poetic, unsettling collection taxonomises the body by cells and by stories. Jackson undertakes a bizarre dissection that is, by turns, disorientating, disgusting and delightful..." Read the full review by Holly Corfield Carr

Company K
  by William March

"Suddenly the blue-eyed man looked at me and smiled, and before I knew what I was doing, I smiled back at him. Then Sergeant Pelton gave the signal to fire and the rifles began cracking and spraying bullets from side to side. I took steady aim at the blue-eyed man. For some reason I wanted him to be killed instantly. He bent double, clutched his belly with his hands and said, “Oh!...Oh!” like a boy who has eaten green plums. Then he raised his hands in the air, and I saw that most of his fingers were shot away and were dripping blood like water running out of a leaky faucet...."
"Possibly the first American novel written entirely in flash stories. March did the most powerful thing any writer of fiction can do – he simply told the truth..." Read the full review by Marko Fong

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The Short Review shines the spotlight on short story collections, new and older, across all genres, styles, publishers and countries. Each month we review 10 books and interview as many of their authors as possible.... Read more>>

Author Interviews

"When I was growing up in Eastern Oregon, the story was a primary means of communicating with people you liked. Stories were supposed to be funny, though the dryer the wit the better. People who couldn’t tell  Diane Simmons

Author of Little America
stories—or be funny-- were considered unfriendly or perhaps a bit thick..."

Read the rest of the interview >>

"I’ve never written for a particular audience. Somehow, a story written for a specific "consumer" would seem not to reflect the writer’s worldview or his/her innermost feelings or concepts. I’m not sure  Clark Zlotchew

Author of Once Upon A Decade: Tales of the Fifties
how profound or how genuine that kind of story would be. In such a case, the writer would be artificially spinning a yarn he/she thinks a certain reader would like. This would be pandering. It would be too much like an advertising campaign rather than literature..."

Read the rest of the interview >>

"That's a great question. Now that I've been publishing stories in so many different forms it has taken on new meaning every year. A story can be anything that breathes new life  Meg Tuite

Author of
Domestic Apparition
into me. I read something that's anywhere from six words to fifty pages and it transforms me. It deepens that black hole in whatever part of the brain, choose your spot, and I am opened up into another universe or my world as I know it has let go of its borders..."

Read the rest of the interview >>

"I think short story writing is one of the more spontaneous narrative arts. Each story is written when it needs to be written. For me, writing "with a collection in mind" Éilís Ní Dhuibhne

Author of The Shelter of Neighbours
would damage, if not destroy, the sense of catching a story from the air. One of the things I love about the short story is this easy relationship with time. It’s an omelette, not a turkey with all the trimmings. Having a specific kind of collection in mind from the start would – for me - make short story writing more like the marathon that is novel writing..."

Read the rest of the interview >>

"The Salaryman was a very early one, five years before my agent sold Drifting House, and in between that time I stopped writing for up Krys Lee

Author of Drifting House
to six months at a time. I was afraid of turning writing into anything more serious than a hobby because then I could fail. Studying at the Warren Wilson MFA program slowly gave me permission to take writing seriously, which is one of the best reasons for studying in an MFA program. Two years after completing the program, I completed my collection and got a two book deal..."

Read the rest of the interview >>