Tuesday 22 October 2013

Unthology: No 4 edited by Ashley Stokes and Robin Jones

Review by The Mole

Extraordinary short fiction from new and established writers. UNTHOLOGY No.4 continues Unthank Books' celebrated series, drawing its energy from the wanderlust and shape-shifting tendencies of the contemporary short story. Its thirteen stories involve cats, crows and angels; moments of realization and moments of doubt; bad moves, wrong turns and trips across the border. A fire-scarred war veteran enters the domain of a coked-up yuppie. A girl wakes up to find that the birdsong has ended. A lad on the slide dates a cosseted schoolgirl and ends up teetering on a church roof. Safe-cracking stories by bold and stealthy writers. Joshua Allen Sarah Bower Carys Bray Ruby Cowling Michael Crossan Sarah Evans Rodge Glass Marc Owen Jones Rowena Macdonald Aiden O'Reilly Adrian Slatcher Barnaby Walsh Melanie Whipman Edited by Robin Jones and Ashley Stokes.

I have only read Unthology 3 before this and thoroughly enjoyed that but this time the editors have really excelled themselves.

Although the stories are relatively short there are many I would recommend you avoid at bedtime - a mistake I made and had a very disturbed dream. But it's a rare occasion that I dream so the writing is very clearly powerful. Which was my favourite? It's impossible to separate one out - there wasn't one that I didn't love.

But if you don't like ants then go ahead and read Administration: An Intern's Guide - it will really creep you out! And if you're OK with ants then it will just weird you out! The one that I read just before bed was The Murder of Crows but maybe that's me. Finished felt very sombre but strange at the same time. In fact there wasn't one that didn't leave me thinking about long after finishing.

Each story is a change - a change of voice, a change of mood, a change of topic and completely different rules - and this makes this kind of anthology a real treat, but the real credit has to go to the editors for trawling through so many submissions to find such a fabulous collection!

Publisher - Unthank Books
Genre - Adult short story anthology

Buy Unthology: No. 4 from Amazon

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