on 24 May 2013
Readers of the Butterfly Cabinet, Bernie McGill's first novel, will not be surprised by the skill, depth and sheer readability of these stories. But then, Bernie's short stories have been proving how good they are by their success in numerous literary competitions for some time now, and most of us will have read at least one in various magazines. It's a real joy to have some of the best of them collected together in one book, for leisurely browsing. Bernie has the ability to see things with a fresh eye. Her use of colour, for instance, in the vision of the woman shocked into loss of memory in The Bells Were Ringing Out, is an enlightening concept which brings home the strangeness of everything to someone in that position. Her effects are subtle but clear, such as the end of The Recipe, where Deirdre's trip to England for 'a medical thing, routine' is mentioned almost in passing, leaving us thinking, 'Did she mean...? Yes, she did.' The stories are full of moments of great sadness, and moments also of satisfying humour. A book to enjoy and to reread regularly. Thoroughly recommended.
on 27 December 2014
I still can't believe that writing of this quality is available so cheaply. This is one of the finest collections of short stories I've read and it's beyond me how it hasn't won some award or other when lesser writers are lauded as 'geniuses'. The author gets right into the heart and head of her characters (mostly women suffering from loss) and is a master of evoking setting with poetic touches that don't overburden the storyline. There is also a great deal of humour here, and although most of the 11 stories are told from a female perspective, one voice stayed with me, ie, the voice of the old farmer father who comes back to 'haunt' his daughter - very witty and amusing, despite the dark humour. I believe Bernie McGill has published a novel as well, so I'm off to search for that.
on 16 May 2013
This is by the author of "The Butterfly Cabinet", which I loved when I read it last year, so I was really pleased to see something new. I'd read one or two of the stories individually but, as a collection with new stories added, this is much more than the sum of its parts. The writing is beautiful but unpretentious, and the stories have poignancy and humour as they tell of memories lost and regained, motherhood and fatherhood, grief, protection, and a ghost or two.
on 17 June 2013
A collection of beautiful, sweet, sad and moving stories. By turns poetic, wise and funny, this collection speaks in a broad Northern Irish accent about truths which are universal.
Heartily recommended and definitely worth the download