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A Man Melting: Short Stories [Kindle Edition]

Craig Cliff
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Print List Price: £19.99
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Book Description

A startlingly original collection of short stories that was winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.A son worries he is becoming too perfect a copy of his father. The co-owner of a weight-loss camp for teens finds himself running the black market in chocolate bars. A man starts melting and nothing can stop it, not even poetry. This terrific collection of stories by an exciting new talent moves from the serious and realistic to the humorous and outlandish, each story copying an element from the previous piece in a kind of evolutionary chain. Amid pigeons with a taste for cigarette ash, a rash of moa sightings, and the identity crisis of an imaginary friend, the characters in these eighteen entertaining stories look for ways to reconnect with people and the world around them, even if that means befriending a robber wielding an iguana.

Product Description

About the Author

""Craig Cliff was born in Palmerston North in 1983. His first short story collection, A Man Melting, won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book, the judges commenting: 'This book is of the moment, and is rightly at home on a global platform. Cliff is a talent to watch and set to take the literary world by storm.' His short stories have been published in New Zealand and Australia; one of them being selected for Essential New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Owen Marshall. Earning Cliff the title of the Sunday Star Times's 'Hot Writer of 2011', A Melting Man met with critical acclaim, Nicholas Reid calling it 'simply the best new collection of short stories I have read in an age'. The New Zealand Herald wrote that A Melting Man 'heralds the arrival of an electrifying new voice on the New Zealand writing scene. These stories are perfectly formed, standalone gems, but the collection also brings together satisfying harmonies as a whole.' In The Short Review, Angela Readman called Cliff's stories unforgettable and noted that the book 'encapsulates what the best short story should do: resonate and hone how we see our world'. Whereas Kylie Klein-Nixon of Kapi-Mana News noted that 'gorgeous insanity is the purview of Craig Cliff', Landfall's Kate Duigan wrote that 'Cliff's quarry is the human heart and he homes in on it with fierce accuracy', these varied views endorsing the view of the Commonwealth Writers Prize judge of 'wry, punchy [writing] filled with fresh images, and providing an engaging mix of fantasy and gritty realism ... These are extraordinary stories about ordinary people.'""

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Random House New Zealand (2 July 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052HUL14
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,578,176 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I am reminded of Ali Smith 14 Oct. 2011
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
A Man Melting is a very good collection of short stories.

It is tempting to try to find a common theme linking stories in a collection, but that would be unfair to this collection. Truly, the stories are diverse, vary in length from a couple of pages up to 50 page almost-novellas. Narrative points of view are variously male and female; represent all age groups from young children to older people - but they almost always convince.

Having said that it would be unfair to look for themes, many stories seem to involve travel, and many of them involve some degree of mediocrity or dissatisfaction in the world of work. Even the story about a local mayor (The Spirit Of Rainbow Gorge) features a decidedly mediocre mayor who worries about how other mayors might perceive him.

Each story is told lucidly and, for the most part, Craig Cliff avoids the temptation to have stories drift off into ambiguous or obscure endings. Mostly, they juat end when there's nothing more to be said, leaving a sense of pathos. Some stories do have a slightly surreal edge (Seeds or A Man Melting), but never with the objective of mystifying the reader - they say what they mean, even if it's not what the reader initially expects. The pacing is good, with stories feeling neither rushed nor protracted. And some of the character vignettes, brief as they are, really hit the nail on the head.

By and large, the stories grow in impact as they grow in length. The longer stories such as Fat Camp and The Sceptic's Kid leave a longer lasting impression than some of the shorter stories - leave one with a real sense of pathos - that augurs well for any future novel that Cliff might write. My favourite, though, is The Tin Man - whose analytical approach to life is quite admirable but totally inappropriate.
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