Quick as a Wink - 60 stories
Publisher: Ginninderra Press
If characters make a story, this book has a deluge of them. The stories are deliberately brief so as not to stretch the time-keeping skills of busy, modern society. However, readers will find, within most stories, characters they identify with, either in vexed or, more usually, pleasant ways. Human characters include chefs, grans, gossips, siblings, entrepreneurs; possibly a queen makes a dubious appearance. Children feature in naïve yet wise ways, and deservedly bookend the collection. Animals (characters also, as we know) invite you into their worlds, including a ladybird, a pelican, an anti-hero bee, and eccentric turkeys. Objects, too, such as a Buddhist statue and a gnome are, in a twinkle, brought to life. Delicately, rather than by blows to skulls, themes of abuse, abortion and ageing weave through the stories. The desolation of broken families and the devastation of war are implicitly exposed. Ultimately, sizeable serving spoons of humour, brazen or subtle, are the keys to many tales. This, too, is deliberate: readers need to be cheered, mostly, by the unsuspecting characters who inhabit our world.