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Milton Pitt leads an uneventful life, with a dull job and a secret longing for adventure. One morning, after he is hit by a speeding car, he suffers an out-of-body experience and awakens back in his bedroom. Everything is just the same - that is, except for the bloody footprints leading to the chimney... Is this his chance to lead a better life? Was it just a dream? Or is he simply dead? In this richly inventive and humorous novella, Edward Vass brings the themes of Dante's Divine Comedy 700 years into the future.
Lindon, an Australian project manager with a failed marriage behind him, is lured to China with the promise of a lucrative salary. His task: to solve the problem of a `nail house', the home of a stubborn old man who refuses to relocate, even as the bulldozers move in and the skyscrapers grow around him. But as Lindon negotiates with the old man's family, he finds sense where there is none, and love where there is war.
In this bittersweet and hauntingly surreal tale, a couple finds the distance between them mirrored in a strange epidemic sweeping the globe. Little by little, each victim becomes transparent, their heart beating behind a visible rib cage, an intricate network of nerves left hanging in mid-air. Finally, the victims disappear entirely, never to be seen again.
Hakim, a Pakistani taxi driver whizzing through the streets. Patrick, a Ugandan security guard with aspirations of becoming a writer. Farida, a Moroccan beautician hoping for a fresh start. Saeed, a respected Emirati journalist just back from London. Taking place across the last few days of Ramadan, 'Minutes from the Miracle City' is a unique retelling of the virtuoso project that is Dubai.
It's 1970s Canada. The small island community of Bear Lake is awash with rumours of layoffs and wildcat strikes at the mill. But for young Tom, nothing is more important than hanging out with his best friend, Cormic, except perhaps catching a glimpse of Sasha Dovonovitch, the foreman's daughter. When a tragic accident occurs at the mill, the whole community unites - but in a small town, pointed fingers and hushed gossip can only stir further trouble...
In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, Sarah travels back to her home town with her young son. Delays and diversions take Sarah on an emotional journey as she's forced to return to well-known places echoing with painful memories from her youth. Set in the wild, beautiful and unreliable landscape of southern New Zealand, Emma Timpany's novella is an evocative story of a woman coming to terms with her past and forging a brighter future. 'A tour de force of imagery and emotion.' - Clio Gray, author of 'The Anatomist's Dream'
Eight year old Pepper sees the world a little differently from most people. One day, during a school field trip, Pepper is kidnapped by a stranger and driven to rural Arkansas. The man, who calls himself 'Uncle Dan', claims that Pepper's mother has died and they are to live together from now on - but the boy isn't convinced. Pepper always found it hard to figure out when people are lying, but he's absolutely certain his mother is alive, and he's going to find her...
Nicholas Anderton is a highly respected neurosurgeon at the top of his field. But behind the successful facade all is not well. Tormented by a toxic marriage and haunted by past mistakes, Anderton has been eating to forget. His wife, meanwhile, has turned to drink. There are sniggers behind closed doors - how can a surgeon be fat? When mistakes are made and his old adversary steps in to take advantage, Anderton knows things are coming to a head...
Oh my, must-read needs to be stamped all over this book as it is 188 pages of simply wonderful storytelling, with each short chapter building to create a cohesive, biting, beautiful whole. Set in Romania in the 1970’s, Alina and her husband find themselves confronted by the secret service when her brother-in-law defects, can the hidden old folk ways be the answer to their problems? While this is a truly stunning read, it isn’t always comfortable or easy, there were occasions when I really flinched, took in a deep breath and closed my eyes, but each time I was drawn back in as I also smirked, laughed, felt wonder and had moments of real discovery. The first chapter sent my thoughts scuttling and seeking answers, did I believe, did I understand? Sophie van Llewyn is an award-winning flash fiction author, each chapter of ‘Bottled Goods’ is short, could almost exist in its own right, yet remove one and the entire story would fracture. The ending is utterly perfect, and had me sitting in contemplative silence. I want to shout about Bottled Goods from the rooftops, I adored this thought-provoking unique novella and have chosen it as one of my picks of the month.
Beautiful Delilah’s arrival on a one-village island off Cape Cod (“not the tropical breeze and swaying palm tree kind”, but the “sea gusts and unexpected hurricanes...Atlantic kind”) creates restless ripples among the islanders. She’s an outsider and, since this is the kind of place where everyone knows each other and each other’s business, Delilah is subject to the scrutiny and suspicions of locals who pass comment on all she does and how she does it. “She showed no sign of employment - or any sign of being independently wealthy”, and she even plants a garden at the front of her house. The front - such scandal! Delilah is alone but for occasional weekend visits from her boyfriend, until she becomes close to the island’s sheriff, who gives her gardening advice (and more), but it’s her unconventional, slow-to-emerge relationship with a reclusive neighbour - also the subject of gossip and wild speculation – that creates the most life-changing ripples. Tense, earthy, calmly commanding and written with refreshing clarity, this is a spellbinding triumph of short fiction.