The What Else in the Water read at Liars’ League Leicester

Eleni is reluctantly accompanying her cousin Jane on a cold morning walk when they find something surprising in the river
read by Sophie Talbot

follow the link toLiars’League Leicester

Review of Root: New Stories from North East Writers

My review from The Short Review of short story anthology ‘Root’

The Short Review

ROOT: New Stories from North East Writers
Edited by Kitty Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald’s third anthology for Iron Press.

Iron Press, 2013

Reviewed by Cherry Potts

“‘… Shame you can’t find a good solid man,’ Nan said.
‘You make blokes sound like tower-blocks,’ Mam said.”

iron_-_rootIt is no accident that the cover of this book has a tall building on it. The built environment plays a strong role in several of the stories, as does “The Neighbour”, but despite that there is a heavy dose of the fantastic in this anthology, with child mediums, houses which reject their owners, would-be suicides turning into birds, and casual sidestepping of issues such as a probable murder.

The most fun had is in Angela Readman’s There’s a Woman Works Down the Chip Shop, in which a child interprets her mother’s burgeoning lesbian identity as her being possessed by the spirit of Elvis. It is a…

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Review of The Woman Who Loved the Moon and other stories

My review from The Short Review, of Elizabeth A Lynn’s ‘The Woman Who Loved the Moon’.

The Short Review

The Woman Who Loved the Moon and other stories

by Elizabeth A. Lynn

Berkley Fantasy (Now part of Penguin US), 1981

Reviewed by Cherry Potts

“I need your skills, and your strength. I need your knowledge of men. I need your guile, my traitor, and your deceit” (Wizard’s Domain)

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I first read this collection when it was originally published back in 1981, an important year for me, coming out and on the lookout for (to be honest, any) books that were positive about lesbians. As a convinced fantasy enthusiast I fell on the work of Elizabeth A Lynn with delight. Thirty plus years later (long enough to have forgotten all but the general shape of the stories with the exception of the title story which haunted me for years), these stories have worn well, although I can see their faults more. Lynn does herself no favours…

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Review of Bones of an Inland Sea by Mary Akers

My Review of Mary Akers magnificent collection ‘Bones of an Inland Sea.’ One of those ‘I wish I could do that’ books.

The Short Review

Bones of an Inland Sea

by Mary Akers

Press 532013

Reviewed by Cherry Potts             

Looking back, he sees it now. Twirling was Dani’s escape, and Rosie a twirler, too, with him. Twins, they twirled together. Two as one, coltish, early…Holding hands to spin together, faster, faster. Tandem spinning. Spinning till your hands broke apart and you staggered around, drunk with the swirl in your ears.

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This is a cracking collection, by turns lyrical, gritty, warm, funny, frightening and eccentric. Mary Akers‘ imagination is given full flight, from a historical story with just the suggestion of a ghost (The House of Refuge), through to a devastated future world of plagues and cults (Waste Island), by way of marital infidelity (Bones of an Inland Sea), murder (Viewing Medusa)  and sex change (What Lies Beneath). Through it all flows the…

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Aimee Bender, The Color Master – review by Cherry Potts

My Review on The Short Review of Aimee Bender’s The Colour Master. At some point I will review (though not on Short Review obviously) her novel, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake which I ADORED.

The Short Review

The Color Master
by Aimee Bender

Windmill Books, 2013

Reviewed by Cherry Potts

“Do you know the king wants to marry his daughter? Her eyes flashed, for a second, with anger.
What? Put that in the dress too, she said. She dropped her voice to a whisper, every word sharp and clear. Anger, she said. Put anger in the dress.”

The title story of this collection is a clever prequel to a well-known fairy tale which gives you no inkling of where it is going until close to the end, dressed up as it is with fantastical touches such as invoices sent by pigeon, and so on. It has a bitter core for all its surface frivolity, entirely appropriate to its partner tale.

Another story steeped in the language and rhythms of traditional fairy tales is The Devourings, which take several tropes and stitches them together into an exhausting and…

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What You Are Now Enjoying by Sarah Gerkensmeyer: Review

Here is my Review of Sarah Gerkensmeyer’s Short Story collection What you are Now Enjoying, on The Short Review

The Short Review

What You Are Now Enjoying
by Sarah Gerkensmeyer

Autumn House Press, 2013

Reviewed by Cherry Potts

“The Monster who has been haunting me since I was a kid is depressed. We sit on my kitchen counter in the middle of the night and drink chocolate milk. This is so awkward, he says. Don’t worry about it, I say. But really, he says, I feel kind of bad about this.”

Sarah Gerkensmeyer’s stories inhabit an alternate universe, so close to our own, that for the first few paragraphs of each story you think you know where you are, but quickly the off kilter, not what you thought, creeps in and nudges you.

These are quiet, undramatic stories in which although drastic action is sometimes taken, you never get to dwell on the excitement or the trauma. They sink into your consciousness in such a way that you almost believe that what she’s telling…

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