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‘Love Stories for Hectic People’ is a collection of short stories exploring aspects of love that aren’t necessarily the ones that are focused on most often, the sides that aren’t “happy ever after”. Each flash fiction piece is distinct and the collection can be read from cover to cover or picked up and enjoyed in whichever order takes your fancy. The author’s writing helps to create an entire world in a few deceptively simple stories, each one felt thought through and complete to me, with the reader left at the end pondering about next steps and unspoken meaning. The perfect way to be left after a flash fiction piece in my opinion. Covering a number of aspects of relationships and sex, from the joy of it to deeper and darker issues of affairs, abortions and miscarriage. I highlight this to demonstrate the variety within these stories (as I’ve said, each have their own unique tale, setting and atmosphere) and also to mention in case any potential reader is sensitive to a particular topic. Quick to read through with plenty to come back to and contemplate, I think that this is a great collection of flash fiction.
A Japanese soprano sets sail for arid, haunted Corsica where she seeks her lost voice. A nude woman at the window of a Hong Kong hotel watches her lover dine in an adjacent building, but is her desire faltering? With a young son and her photographer partner, a journalist traverses Mali to interview an irascible musician. A son relives his mother's last hours before a hiking accident in the Italian Dolomites, while in London a grieving family takes in an ex-soldier from the Balkan wars, unaware of the man's demons. The Cartography Of Others takes us from fumy Accra to suburban Sydney, from scruffy Paris to pre-fundamentalist Mali. Each bewitchingly recounted story conveys a location as vital as the fitful, contemplative characters themselves. Lives are mapped, unpicked, and crafted across vivid, lingering terrains.
A saint is crucified on the same Mediterranean island where, centuries later, a Japanese soprano recovers her lost voice. Youths throw a rock through a car windscreen in urban Accra, and a woman sees this as a sign she will never reproduce. A murderer escapes across the Sydney suburbs, bringing together an ex-swimming champion, a yoga devotee and a Chinese virgin. An insolent nephew recovers from illness to ask his wealthy aunt for accommodation for himself and his pregnant wife. In Hong Kong, a mistress awaits her married lover in a luxury hotel, and at a summer party outside Verona, a Ukrainian emigre seduces a heavily pregnant woman's husband in his last foray into the world of hedonism. After his father's car strikes a fox, a boy roams a French village at night, and in West Africa a young advertising executive tries to make sense of a corpse in an Elvis shirt, and an American woman who sleeps with her dogs. The Cartography of Others is a collection of twenty stories that take place from fumy Accra to the Italian Dolomites, from suburban Sydney to high-rise Hong Kong. Lives are mapped, unpicked, crafted, overturned. Each story inhabits a location that becomes as vital as the characters themselves, men and women who are often far from home, immersed in unfamiliar cultures, estranged from those they hold dear. Love is panicked, worn, tested.