The Late Season by Stephen Hines

The Late Season

There is a magical process when a writer connects with you. The typeface fades into a picture and their words transport you quickly through their wormhole. Stephen Hines does this with incredible clarity. Each line attunes into itself. Those minute details fill one’s imagination, connecting all the senses, from the gas smell on hands, to the crunch and movement of snow.

This short story collection released from London publisher, Tangerine Press, has the cadence of a Badalamenti composition, meditative in its voyeurism, filled with many secrets. Eyeing the lines from the title story The Late Season, I was in danger of hyperventilating. It is mesmeric and you almost forget to breathe. Words are a sensation in this story, revealing another sense. Occasionally, hints of the dramas underbelly pops up. Why was Lily being so strange? Well there is a disturbance in these bricks and mortar. Carpet salesman Mr Halliday has overstayed his welcome. Lost and looking for answers, his presence shifts the fabric of family, his own sadness a slow drowning.

A 1946 DeSoto S11 Custom Convertible on the first day of spring has depth in its prose that is rich and sensitive. It is an ordinary working day for Jerry. Winter is melting and there is gas to pump. There is lots of painful thinking going on when you have a ‘kicked by a moose‘ hangover. With time on his hands, Jerry’s day is interrupted by truancy specialist Brian. A kid who asks too many questions, unknowingly connected to a past which sends us into a montage of scenes, past and present. Their connection realised, both one and the same, lost hearts in need of closure.

Onto The Roads This Time Of Year. Experience prepares the mind with almost psychic abilities, wisdom can be overwrought with mollycoddle. A stream of warnings can’t stop fate and the love for the child, adds another passing over the next worry bead. A similar mood in Honeymoon when mother and child don’t return from a boat outing, the terror of a grief striken imagination takes over. A hundred questions are asked, we go through the motions, we grieve and plan futures without knowing if one needs to. Defense mechanisms get into gear and whether it is tears or laughter, it is not until routine returns, will true feelings be revealed.

Every one of the stories ahead and the lives these short stories reveal are an easy dimension to switch into. Stephen Hines words are smooth on the eyes, generous with internal thoughts, captivating visuals, and perfectly natural banter. The way the voices echo, scenarios not very far removed from all of us. Overactive minds, the guilt felt by a discarded apple. These touches of asides stand out in the prose. Gentle life plays. It’s when he hits the centre, the fable, its truth, this is what really rumbles one’s emotions.

His characters minds become rooms, mysterious and intimate. You think you know outcomes early, but this is merely a false sense of predictability he so cleverly uses. Stephen will help you twist into a backflip. You question your ability to judge. He fits into all the personas he writes about with convincing characters, descriptions and motives that are tantalising and tactile. Voices choke with grief and reading through again never gets easier. His nihilism enters the room with you, putting the reader into the difficult position of uncomfortable observer, a beautiful masochistic realism.

The stories in the collection have a unique ambience, an exotic sparse ordinariness. The mood is a steady heartbeat even when the characters are anguished. One note plays like a backbone, linking all these stories together – they are all so exquisitely lonely. When you feel that, you will not be able to let go. Long after reading, the lives inside these stories will often resurface and you’ll think to yourself, what a freakingreat writer Stephen Hines is.

You can connect with Stephen via Twitter and see some more links to work via his blog. You can purchase The Late Season through Tangerine Press in varying levels of beauty.

Book Review Stephen Hines Tangerine Press

GLOVE 2

DKfTiilV4AEcPF6Ian Cusack’s Glove smacked onto the zine scene harder than a Gilly’s ton.  This second slap of fightin’ words has initiated another pen duel. To tackle the work presented here and inform the word insatiable’s why Glove is the kind of publication you should support.

Firstly, my favourite conch Holly Watson takes out the honour of setting the story bar high. I have been frothing at the mouth over Holly’s work in other zines and whenever I get an opportunity to share a new blog post or story of hers, there is never, ever any trepidation re the quality and humour that will appear. I seriously want a rainy weekend, a packet of penguins and her back catalogue of adventures all in one place. Someone please tell me that is happening soon. I cannot fathom why this writer is not being snapped up and shared. Her stories are straight out script like, I see the movie, I see the franchise, call Mike Leigh! In this story, Holly needs the help of Nanny Pam’s keen eye and style to procuring a fancy dress outfit to knock all the other Spice Girl wannabes for six. This diarised table of events is a funny, tender and tragic tale of growing up in Holly’s world. Superb as always.

There is no real order of placement in Glove. It’s the kind of zine thats style comes from  random fits and this works well. Dani Devotchik’s Alcohol found its place, tucked in the bottom of the page, though stands out strong with its message. Wes Cooke teases his way through Art Brute, Roy MacBeth’s aka ‘The Finsbury Park Fauve’s’ latest exhibition. Major crack ups to be had here as Wes sets the scene with its tantalising mockumentary approach. Bloody brilliant.

Little poetic breaks are our light refreshment but Between Wear and Tyne by Jason Jackson is by no means lightweight. This is a wonderful reminisce of life before being born, womb memoirs and catching ‘more distant, future notes‘, its message lingering and magically pondered.

Hands Thegither is written in Scots and lilts with a brilliant pace. The story builds from an encounter at a play, when a non applauding punter riles him up triggering a wave of words and emotion. “See, the world’s been pissin me oaff for a while noo an Ah dinnae really ken whit tae dae aboot it” The applause is loud from me, adored this story from A.G.Kayman.

There is a perfect calming inside To spend an evening easy by DS Maolalai every stanza filled with the ordinary, imagery of a simple evening, drinking beer with an old friend. Spine tingles a plenty when I read Mary by Carl Taylor, with his flash of great style and suspense, taking me to my own dark and warp to fill in the gaps and ending.

When I was last in the UK, I was held like gunpoint to watch my uncles favourite show Pointless. With open mouth I tried my best to fathom the concept. To win, one must choose the least correct answer that a group of people would choose on a given subject, like lets say Medieval Popes. Firstly, you gotta be up on your popes. Secondly it is seemingly unavailing, surreal even, hopeless, but my rellos love it, laughing between brews, crumbs spat everywhere. PJ Smith uses this televisual phenomenom as the backdrop for his captivating story on family, drugs, the need for connection and the cult of personality. Bonza stuff.

Half way in now, and surely you can see the value. Time to get word winded by the brilliant and prolific Ford Dagenham. I threw out my jogging shoes today does the collapse under the weight of his strange everyday. Gwil James Thomas is back inside my eyes with Solitude. The life of a writer, torn up with the need, but craving the other. Lucky punters get a good taste of a favourite. Here is a choice cut from Billy And The DevilBy The Time I Get Through The Shop Door by Dean Lilleyman. This barney between Billy and his boss Norris whose head is “jut-jutting like a fuckarsed chicken” has his sights set on stuffing up his day. This story kicks bottom. If all these literary licks have finally tantalised, look out for the exorcised release via Hi Vis next year.

If Terence Corless is testing the waters for content for his novel, the 17th Weekend better be part of it. In just five paragraphs he took me just to the moment of boredom and as I thought ‘what’s he up to here then?’ THWACK! Take romance, tragedy and a cliffhanger in a shot glass and light it! The chills down my shoulders still reverberating. As does Deborah Baird’s Victim and the nasties endured during break ups.

Onto some bloke called Cusack who goes full on nutjob at the barbers. His inner rant cathartic, funny and borderline real. Adam Steiners Jellyfish surfaces with beauty to then plunge into silent bubbles of truth. Walter Otton is a clever manipulator. His story Supermarket Samaritan has you questioning heroes in an instant, its plot lingers. Tim Baldwin’s Letter De Cachet is rich and evoking. Myself imprisoned by its imagery, read over and over, an architectural possession of thought.

Joseph Ridgwell’s silver tongue can’t help flickering. Too Old To Pull It Off is the stark truth re an old flame and bonus piece The Female has him climbing family trees uncovering ironic tragedies. Ridgwell’s style is blushingly honest, no skeletons in his back catalogue, though he will add extra meat to all his bleached bones, Ridgwell is what he is, upfront and delightful. All the rewards of his closed doors will hopefully be revealed in the new year.

You Should Be by Steve Campbell is chilling. When Hypnopompic meets Hypnagogic the terror is tantamount to post traumatic stress disorder, so real and excruciating, as it takes turns entering in and out of husband & wife. Really chilling, emphatic to its horror. Jamie Thrasivoulou’s The Best of A Bad Situation is still sitting on my desk, and re read. So it is a delight to bump into him here. Bin Day/Autumn/Terraced Streets is a fitting contribution for now and anytime really. His eyes and ears attuned to what’s going on around him, in the moment, a polaroid of his suburbia.

The pages have thinned now, but I know Michael Keenaghan will be fat with menace and reality. But instead I see a welcomed vulnerability but still very real. When your guard is down it can invite good and bad. Our futures prepared, Michael flashes black and white from “a hell of mistakes, regrets, disease” to “the funfair sounding across the green“. The secrets we keep exorcised for all “the dirty dark secrets of mankind”. The same reactions, same scenarios, the healing begins.

Little word stompers are all through this issue. Joseph Albenese’s What We Offer, the defiant fearless ecstasy of Scott Wozniak A Final Bit Of Romance, the evocative unease of Jared Carnie’s list of New Things in the House, Ally May’s mindfulness in Westgate Road, Jim Gibson’s mind trickery of Mottled & Katie Lewington GB, who has us questioning is it people or place that shapes identity.

What a great batch of writers, bloody brilliant.

Only a few issues left of Glove #2

Glove #3 is OUT NOW

£3 UK, £4 EU & £5 R of W

40 pages of outsider prose & poetry by 32 writers – PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review Dean Lilleyman Ford Dagenham Glove Gwil James Thomas Joseph Ridgwell Reviews Zines & Journals

Love And Loss And Other Important Stuff

Johnathon

The third instalment of a recent bounty from the Silhouette Press catalogue and this time it is author Jonathan Pinnock, who is best known to me as the guy who did strange things to Jane Austen. Sacrilege? Never! This writer has completed the “level 4 compliance” within the “Poetry Society Guidelines” that include restrictions on rhyming, poems about cats and is more than ready to challenge all styles and rip them up, especially the ones on swearing cause he “can’t remember which fucking ones“. Fair enough I say.

Poetry like this pops and bursts with fun. We often forget the pleasure of the anarchic bard, to be silly and absurd. Jonathon has not forgotten this. Pants Outside Trousers, Big Letter H On T Shirt, Here To Save the World mocks lyrical, swiping hard at the wordy ones, when a limericist, a free versifier and a composer of sestinas meets Haiku Man, this poetry festival starts to get interesting. There are poems about when apes write about love instead of bananas and how heaven turned out to be, well, “a bit shit“.

Then there is the Love, swoon, be still and all that. No piece could be more reflective than A Short History Of The Cold War. Such beauty of metaphor, drawn lines and peace talks. There is a love-nest of amour on offer, many poems pondering the bitter sweet stuff. A lothario amid the drama of Bloody Italians is a perfect stage for the best decisions to be made. The Cooper Clarke beat of Dissonant Love Song #2, its words are bright and blistering. His love poems just get gloriously more twisted, A Lover’s Alphabet a vent of torture and revenge that ends way before it should.

Jonathan’s poetry tightens into beatific memories, on loss, dreams of Spain, a death of a mother, eye to eye with an angry bull, they are all thoroughly enjoyable. The scenarios eclectic and smart. There dwells a curious seriousness, puzzles turn into prose and the reader will benefit from two or three dips over them so their essence lights their mind globe. His experimentation with word shapes, poem on paper cuts and losing his mojo are a delight. I’ll be calling Dial-A-Bard to make sure this poet knows just how much I enjoyed the experience.

Love And Loss And Other Important Stuff is available through Silhouette Press. You can find out more on Jonathan’s work via his blog and connect with him via twitter

Johnathan Pinnock Poetry Reviews

The Best of A Bad Situation

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This one I have been chomping at the bit to get stuck into. Finding that spare chunk of time to really give this poetry release the attention it deserves. Just what I’ve seen of Spoken Word poet Jamie Thrasivoulou gives me the flutters. Truth is at the heart of this vessel and it will be ugly, it will be beautiful and it will stay with you for a long time.

What first strikes you is the song, his cadence, his approach is sometimes pure jazz. You hear the beat of the old Beats, but this is new and it restarts the heart. So with thumb and middle fingers ready we click into,

But 

the mind is:

a bombastic chasm

waiting on self destruction

So here we are, ready to receive a blast. I know it’s coming. This piece rumbles and boils, maybe even has a little romance…

Common Sewerage Problem is the dead march, when you are the unheard part of a system that doesn’t care, which barely wants to keep you alive, being all too prevalent in the UK and around the world. We hide our faces, quash our empathy when our roles should be to help one another. It’s poetry like this that sickens in just the right way, the word changers, the fight has just begun.

Distinctly working-class in every way” this mantra pounding That Pebbledash Finish. Jamie’s theme is rendered here, defiant that his voice will be heard. His streets are full of drugs, that ‘commodity‘ of the bored and hurt and in The Reformed Economist Jamie takes the lifestyle and throws it back at those in power. Two ponderers hit us, A True Liar and Options, where he contemplates to ‘de-educate myself in order to make a living’ the truth of the personal sell out.

Anxiety Pipped Me To The Finish Line… opens up to a new mind set. The spleen resting allows Jamie to get to the heart of himself, where he is at. This is no less traumatic, the streets and fields of our homes has dangerous prospects especially under the influence of mind altering substances, inner demons ready to rise and take on whoever happens to be walking by. Some good slick lines roll out in Steve Slash & The RDT, workmates to the rescue with piss filled Johnnys and wake up calls.

There are great words of advice in Hibernation, while Reflections rambles on the left side of unconsciousness. The motley crew that exists on Anywhere Street, James’s Derby dreary of “intoxicated philosophies” is an eye opener. On Tag is an atmospheric crime scene, then it’s onto this tomes title track and I say track with thought because these poems sing.

The Best Of A Bad Situation, three moments, I, II, III, reversed in its chronology, a glimpse into a time of bad judgement and its consequences, paced by a wild boy out of control. It is stark, it has memory loss and too many memories, while IV is the turning point here, the cloud lifter. Even the physical page seems clearer, the map for a new path. But there are still loads of experiences to surface poetic. Beneath A Banana Moon, ready for a fight, adrenalin switches, as the situation is “down-lifted by the up-trodden prey I pursue

Believe me, it can get heavy in here, so Duck and Raw Fish vs. Cooked Fish help me repose, loosen my brow and ready to take on Anthem For The Racist White Trash. The message here is clear, the insane beliefs from utter mouth breathers that immigrants and refugees are “taking our jobs you dream“. Jamie’s argument is a beauty to read.

I adore Won’t Turn To Dust, “free thought, forgotten courage” the slow seep of messages like these to strengthen the silenced. Dead Letters has me riling at the incompetence and politics of council not replacing a destroyed red correspondence receptical then cracking up two pages on at surprise reply poem About That Postbox… mystery solved, awed by the motive, excited about the delivery. Then there is the wise Who’s Der Clevrist Man Yer Know? This is a spin out twister that makes so much sense. Another mind altering night spent with another fine poet, our evening closing fast and we hear about a day in the life of Hunting Snow In A Blizzard, the waiting, the watching, the fix. Then there is Reimagining Yeroskipou unfeigned and loving, Jamie’s heritage remembered. Last pages are always hard to take especially when one has enjoyed the experience, but The Old Enemy and The Blemish round it out perfectly, learned from his past, not knowing the future, his now… ‘distinctly working-class in every way’, Truth.

You can purchase The Best Of A Bad Situation from Silhouette Press. You can keep up with new releases, projects and spoken word events via Jamie’s blog and follow him via twitter.

 

 

Poetry Reviews Silhouette Press

The Africa In My House

by Andrea MbarushimanaDGhAon3U0AAEFl0

This was a surprise addition to my order from the generous publishers at Silhouette Press. A deep red sunset boomed from the package, tribal masks and shields protecting its contents. I could hear the voices inside. The Africa In My House is a book of poetry, stories and events, touching through the troubled country of Rwanda, picking at time and looking at events that author Andrea Mbarushimana experienced there, the echoes of genocide and trying to fathom why, hoping that it will never occur again.

Andrea manages to beautifully mingle legend, mythology and her experiences to help herself and those who want to know, understand and cope with a country she now has a better understanding of.  Her words and illustrations are totally mesmerising.  Visitations that permeate dreams, her psyche deciphers it with ink and words. The original purpose of her stay there is not really established. I get the feeling that some humanitarian work, maybe teaching drew her there, where she fell in love, where her experiences have permanently connected her to the place. Her daughter a special link to keeping the threads of heritage in their hearts.

Rwanda became the country where horror stories overtook the rich tapestry of fable. Its displacement after colonial rulers abandoned, chose a side and said sort it out amongst yourselves was never going to be a pleasant start. Here, Andrea never glosses, these are hundreds of minds flowing through her, continuing lessons, making us aware of the complexities of tribe and the flow of the modern.

The imagery Andrea describes directly transports you to the village life and painful memories. One of the strongest to encounter and first to bite is Hyena pointing out the  dichotomy and dilemmas faced when the wrangled lost and desperate follow orders. When one’s own survival could be at the hand of another’s compassion. This story unfolds with high tension. When it is just your job and the consequence of not following orders is a moral conundrum that one can only know the answer to if put in that situation. When the realisation that ‘we are two people” overides the political.

Murambi Genocide Site, passes over the extreme “It’s hard to find your way sometimes, Past death’s mask“. The horrors that have been witnessed, memory’s ghost imagined, thoughts shared to help the healing. Rabbit is another squirmish, told with an exquisite meticulous pace, the process a recipe that is merely survival.

There are loads of survivors that Andrea has met and not met. You get the feeling that Andrea needed to be the storyteller here, this is her healing and we as readers are one the richer. There is no glossy sentimentality but there is true beauty here. Andrea slips in and out effortlessly of styles and intensity. The beautiful haiku of Kigeme, the questioning of when it is right to go back in Healing and the sublime Folk Tale Resurrection. In Power Cuts 2001 a time when the country is trying to return to some semblance of sanity. “Ce nest pas le guerre!” humour is such a rich healer. When the power goes out in, the difference between the same occurrence in Rwanda and in the U.K is an interesting one. There is a constant back and forth of place and contrasts throughout that become dreamlike. There are longer stories like God Of Shadows that are such an odd mixture of cult, west meets witch doctor revealing a fear so potent that one can’t believe the trauma it inflicts.

Dipped between chapters are Andreas prints. As Andrea is a masterful story teller, you can understand why her prints also contain enough drama and information to sink you. The plight of people in Refugee Art Group, the mere suggestion of the day’s painting topic of favourite food from home has me crying and when love became something certain in Gatyazo Bar, I was humbled. More stories, more poetry. I adore the strength, beauty and eccentricities of the people she met and the people whose lives she chose to speak of here now, forever remembered. You can purchase The Africa In My House via Silhouette Press. You can connect with Andrea via twitter.

Andrea Mbarushimana Book Review Poetry Silhouette Press

Remembering Hiroshima

Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes

by Eleanor Coerr

When I visited Pearl Harbor Memorial it coincided with a naturalisation ceremony on top of the de-commisioned battleship USS Missouri – its upper deck the venue where Japan formally surrendered on September 2 1945 in Tokyo Bay ending World War II. You can see photographs, original paperwork and a plaque that marks the spot – atomic muscle proving to be a persuasive solution and as we know, leaving an aftermath of death and illness when Enola Gay dropped the ‘little boy’ on Hiroshima on Aug 6 1945.

The ship was a buzz of proud families, clicking candid moments as one hundred new citizens originally from places like Brazil, Benin, Germany, Kuwait, Russia, South Korea, Jamaica, Switzerland made the United States of America their new homeland. I heard a woman being interviewed, ecstatic, waving her flag and bursting with emotion. She said how happy she is to belong to the country that gave her all her opportunities. She now looks forward to elections, when she always felt like an outsider because she couldn’t vote – where she was born, people died for that right.

imagesPearl Harbor turned out to be a very reflective place for me but not for the most obvious reasons. Sure, include the bottom line – for those that died and all affected by that day. I can only imagine the fear and suffering of such an event and I am in a constant state of pained nausea if I let my mind wander to all the atrocities of war past and present.

The memorial itself run by the National parks trust is done with solemnity and respect. If you’re into the strategies of battle you will be satiated. You can take photos in front of missiles, straddle torpedoes, view planes and walk through an impressive museum that tells both sides of the story.

On my visit, I was taken on a different journey of war. In the visitors centre was a display highlighting a book for International Peace Day. Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. Sadako, an original Hiroshima survivor was diagnosed with leukemia at age 12. To help gain courage, Sadako’s friend gave her a folded paper crane and reminded her of the Japanese legend – if a person is ill they will have their wish granted if they fold a 1000 paper cranes. Besides wishing for her own health, Sadako wished for world peace with every crane she folded.rainbow

So I purchased a copy and began reading the slim tome whilst exploring the grounds. Every spare moment between exhibits I read a few pages. This precious flower folded these cranes using whatever paper she could find, from medicine labels, newspaper and paper donated by friends, the distraction of it keeping Sadako strong as she faced her mortality – a heart wrenching realisation when someone so young and innocent is caught up in the mess of others. I read bits of the book on the park bench, in front of fat sparrows, I read more sitting on the grass as red faced finches hopped and feasted on some micro seed heads. More pages are turned sitting on a boat on the way to the water memorial, my concentration stolen by the most magnificent fully formed double rainbow as it framed the grey.

oil slickWhen you walk on the memorial itself, a silence takes over and you stare up at the black embossed names of those lost and interned in the ships grave. Over the edge the oil still seeps after seventy or more years, it’s old life’s blood forming an amazing colour spectrum on the surface of the water. Looking at the rusted bones itself nature has taken over. A new beautiful reef of coral, weed and fish shimmy distracting and easing the pain and enormous weight of grief of the Dec 7 1941 attack.

Tears streamed down my face as I finished her story. Sadako died October 25 1955 – she didn’t get to finish her cranes. This book caressed and stirred me more than any of the steely strength of ships and weaponry, code breaking, tactics and casualties could. You can’t sugar coat the realities of war, but now Sadako’s life story, however short, has become a beautiful symbol of peace and I am one the richer for discovering her message in such an unexpected place.

Book Review Eleanor Coerr Uncategorized

OPEN PEN

Issue Eighteen

a free short fiction magazine – home of open literature featuring

The Jungle by Josephine Bruni, Answering Zeus by William Kraemer, Way To Go Donald by N Quentin Woolf & London Short Story prize winner Oh No!, A Bank Robbery! Fuck! by Foye McCarthyDCb2tdCUIAQ7eFJ

I have a special dealer who keeps my Open Pen fix topped up. I’ll be waiting a while for Issue Nineteen but not too bothered as Issue Eighteen has been floating in my bag for those advantageous, peaceful moments to pause. Open Pen editor Sean Preston gives guest editorial duties to author of The Many, Wyl Menmuir. He starts off proceedings with much heart and passion on the political landscape that currently floods our psyches with that uneasy feeling and the distorted reflections one has been forced to endure of late. “We need fiction that reveals us deeper truths than those of which the news is capable” He sees the strength and conscious changing power of writing stories “Writing is about the closest thing we have to telepathy” There are plenty of stories around when we need to escape and even more to help us connect again in these complex times.  If I am looking for the latter, I know I can find it inside the the pages of Open Pen.

It took a park bench in the sun to hold me still enough to finally finish The Jungle by Josephine Bruni in one hit. Previous attempts where stifled by life’s regular interruptions, trying to find solitude at work, being distracted by a lit up android. My imagination well whetted – I think I read the intro six times – each page brought one deeper and deeper into the mind of Subhashini and her stoner enhanced neurosis and love of African Violets. So absorbed, she has become a creator, a little god in her world of black velvet, notched wavy flowers and purpley edges with “leaves perfectly heart shaped like a love song“. An offer of stronger genes in her family from Violets from outta space via an offer from an online chat room changes her world. Josephine writes with exquisite pace and empathy, that lets the reader enter her world of obsession and devotion.

William Kraemer has come up with a hoot of a fiction about a guy who makes up the titles of fake books for movie sets. These empty tomes are his triumph, a meditative fantasy world of amazing possibilities. Pensive Gout by Louis Cardel and A Thousand And One Inches Of Twine by Elissa Dal Santos a couple of favourites.

Way To Go Donald talks of the connection with the POTUS and potentially dying in a fairground accident. It is an uncanny metaphor, having myself escaped from a broken seat belt on the wild mouse unscathed, I get his drift. The only thing you can do is white knuckle it, and consider what might have happened later and how on earth it got clearance to be there in the first place. Part of the furniture at Open Pen, N Quentin Woolf’s pieces are always a mind blast.

Taking the finale of yet another wonderful issue is London Short Story Prize winner’s brilliantly funny Oh No! A Bank Robbery! Fuck! by Foye McCarthy. An Irish kid named Sean loves stories about people who shoot each other. The high expectations and literary selections of his mother are being quashed by the “pew, pew, pew, pew, tshhh” books he wants to write. This delves into another fantasy that gets caught up in a real life adventure, giving him the plot and ending he so desires, gaining answers of the warm and fuzzy variety. Much fun inside his fevered thought processes.

Look out for Issue Nineteen which should be out any tick and at a stockist near you (UK residents have the best chance) or subscribe via Open Pen

 

 

Open Pen Reviews