Tales from Shelley Beach – The Bus Ride home

Short chapters inspired by my new, coming of age novel, Sandbanker, available at no bookstores near you (yet)

The bell at St Christopher’s was not a real bell, made of brass or anything, but electric — it droned, like the torpedos in River Raid. (I didn’t actually have an Atari 2600 to test the theory, and didn’t really know anyone who did, at least someone who I could ask, but that’s what I’d heard.) Whoever they’d gotten to ring the school bell on that Friday afternoon had morsed-coded ‘S-O-S S-O-S’, and everyone had a good laugh about it, but I would’ve bet a case of chocolate frogs they had no clue what it meant. Continue reading Tales from Shelley Beach – The Bus Ride home

The story behind ‘The Lottery’, by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is one of the most famous American short stories and perhaps one of the most baffling.

It centres around a small town, whose residents meet for the annual ‘lottery’. The lottery takes place in other towns around the same time and its purpose is unclear, however the consequences of having one’s name drawn, without spoiling the entire plot are, to say the least, dire. Continue reading The story behind ‘The Lottery’, by Shirley Jackson

‘The Kiss’ by Anton Chekhov – a review

A kiss is a mischievous device — it can switch the human mind from doubt to hope, excitement to despair, and in a second trigger a shock of questions: Why did she kiss me? Why didn’t she? Why did he kiss me in that way? What if he had never kissed me that day, or in that place?

For lovers and potential lovers, even the most trivial meeting of lips can conjure powerful emotions and possibilities. Continue reading ‘The Kiss’ by Anton Chekhov – a review

‘A Village After Dark’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – a review

It is the way of ideas to burn brightly for a time. Given enough fuel they ignite passions, blaze through communities, spark enlightenment and become beacons for the disenfranchised and hopeless.

But like the people who promote them, they dim and weaken until the fervour, the arguments and optimism which drove them turn to ash, and only darkness remains.

It may seem a melodramatic way to introduce Kazuo Ishiguro’s short story, A Village After Dark, yet it is this darkness – this vacuum of conviction where ideas once shone – which provides the main setting.

Continue reading ‘A Village After Dark’ by Kazuo Ishiguro – a review