Most helpful critical review
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Waste of money
on 8 May 2014
The editor says the British are not especially good at short stories. It is not surprising he came to this conclusion from the stories he selected for this book. Only one story, ‘To Room Nineteen’, is worth reading. Review by story;
• Strange Comfort Afforded By The Profession – name dropping writer writes about himself.
• Ping – a waste of ink and paper.
• Mysterious Kor – dull, much dialog about nothing.
• A Family Man – pointless dialog between wife and her husband’s mistress.
• The Burning Baby – distasteful, a man has a baby with his daughter then kills the baby.
• The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen – a petty writer is jealous about another writer’s success.
• More Friend Than Lodger – negative stereotypes of class; a publisher, adulteress, lover.
• The Lotus – another one about writers, rude and self-righteous tenants.
• Miss Pulkinhorn – not a nice story about a busy body.
• My Enemy’s Enemy – another one about negative stereotypes of class; soldiers, officers.
• The Rain Horse – like Duel (1971 film); except it’s a horse, a man and a muddy field.
• The Fishing Boat Picture - another about negative stereotypes of class and a touch of apathy,
• To Room Nineteen – very sad, insightful story of mental illness.
• The House of the Famous Poet – too many words and no content.
• The Enigma – man disappears, police investigate, another batch of negative stereotypes.
• Memories of the Space Age - negative stereotypes of scientists, engineers.
• A Meeting in the Middle – it ends with cow parsley, the rest is not worth reading.
• In the Hours of Darkness – a mum stays overnight near her son’s college and that is it.
• A Few Selected Sentences – the sort of thing you would search for on the internet if you are bored.
• Composition – negative stereotype, of naïve English teacher.
• Weekend – a good reason not to become a middle class housewife.
• Hotel des Boobs – writer on holiday writes about a writer writing on holiday.
• Clap Hands, Here comes Charlie – more class stereotypes and heart attack.
• Psychopolis – more negative stereotypes, Americans, immigrants, again the writer knows best!
• Flesh and Mirror – another, this one is a poor little rich girl abroad, very boring self-analysis.
• Let me Count the Times – lots of rising action and climax, realistic falling action, upbeat resolution.
• My Wife is a White Russian – another… rich man, gold digging wife.
• The Prophet’s Hair – another… religion and violence.
• One of a Kind – another one about a writer.
• Philomela – A distasteful Greek myth, no reason to write another version and print it.
• Bedbugs – another English teacher, petty, pathetic, naïve, negative stereotype.
• Seraglio – another negative stereotype; tourists, dysfunctional relationship.
• A Family Supper – A poisonous fish, but the story has no sting in its tail despite being ready for it.
• Structural Anthropology – full of self-righteous judgmental nonsense.
A waste of money and put me off getting the other short stories in the Penguin series.