on 31 May 2010
I came across two of the stories among the material for an Open University course entitled "Start Writing Fiction" (my tutor was Ashley Stokes, the author of "Touching the Starfish"). None of the stories in this collection is longer than one page. Any-one who picks this book up and pronounces, "Any-one could have written this" is sadly mistaken. Like all good writing, every word and phrase is economically used and, despite their brevity, nearly all the stories have a recognisable build-up and conclusion. My favourite is "Hotel Waldhaus". It is the only work of prose fiction which I can honestly say I can recite in its entirety from memory, even when slightly drunk.
The tone of the stories is a mixture of insanity, death, ill-luck, regret, and malign intentions. This can tend to become a bit tedious and so I recommend not reading more than about twenty or so of them per day.