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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 7 April 2014
There are several good stories here and several that are by comparison poor or indefferent.If one considers 'Flora' by David Rose or 'Winter break ' by Hilary Mantle to be good, then what is one to make of 'Emergency exit ' by Lee Rourke or ' The swimmer or the few that come after that.
I was reading Anton Chekhov's short stories and got this book to read a few modern short stories i.e. the Best of British short stories. This certainly is not. But sadly I will have to read the whole lot,rather like the man who bought some very hot chillies and when asked why he was eating them when obviously in distress, he said ' but i have paid for them' . A story has to be memorable. To have a plot, characters, be unusual, entertaining, have a special language . I am sure there are better writers than half or more of the writers aired in this collection. In the Swimmer we have no idea about the person around whom the story revolves no description and little about the river or the surrounding area- In many of the others the same problem applies. These writers would do well to read Raymond Chandler or Hemingway or Fitzgerald and a host of others whose short stories describe in detail the characters in their stories, the setting and have a plot within the writing. So much for it being a matter of opinion. This book should be retitled ' Some of the Worst and a few Good British short stories.' The cover is beautiful and rather deceiving with the first story that can be read on line.
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on 16 June 2011
Nicholas Royle has done a fine job of selecting a range of stories that, like his introduction, seems to offer an editorial position alongside the desire to reflect the range of the practice of short fiction. Not having read so widely in short stories, I can't be sure if he's succeeded in reflecting the full range out there, but it doesn't feel narrow with his putting big names like Hilary Mantel and John Burnside against writers completely new to me. The taste part, though, certainly works, with most of the pieces sitting in the head for much longer than it takes to read them. Not all, but I'm not going to point at the couple I didn't like so much when I could be complimenting the stories by Marek, Butler and Vaughan. It's certainly done the job I wanted it to, to be a sampler that would raise some excitement for the form; I'll be looking forward to the next.
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on 21 April 2012
A dazzling showcase of short story talent, ranging from comic through surreal to heartbreaking. Enormously enjoyable, but truly resonant too, these stories linger. My current stand-out favourites (which is tough when so many are outstanding - and which may well change, since this is definitely a collection to return to) are Dinner of the Dead Alumni by Adam Marek, Comma by Hilary Mantel and Alison Moore's When the Door Closed, it was Dark.
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on 25 June 2011
I'm an inveterate fast reader, which has many cons and a few pros. This collection is so good, that I am reading them very slowwwwllly. As the previous reviewer said, there are stories here that really stay with you, and I particularly enjoyed the beautifully crafted The Swimmer by SJ Butler. It was pleasing to note that the adventurous anthologist has not played safe, but has introduced relatively inexperienced writers alongside the celeb names. And they stand up extremely well to their august peers. I trust that 2011 was not just a vintage year, and that this series maintains its exceptionally high standard first effort. Well done Salt Publishing - an excellent publisher - and Nicholas Royle.
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on 9 March 2012
A good selection of modern short stories. If you enjoy this genre this is a good volume to own. Handy on the kindle to dip into on shorter journeys or when you have to wait around somewhere.
I liked the story by Hilary Mantel best.
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on 16 March 2012
My rating would have been higher, this is a fine collection of short stories from some very fine authors but they are badly served by the formatting in the Kindle edition. Do publishers actually check what their books look like on a kindle? I'm seriously beginning to wonder - apart from all the extraneous line breaks, Notes on a Love Story by Philip Langeskov was missing from the Table of Contents and was populated by over sized numbers which turned out to be endnotes. They were very distracting and I was sorely tempted to throw in the towel.
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on 5 July 2013
Im sure these cant be our best British short stories? Fell far short of my expectations and I ended up wondering why I bothered, most of the stories left me cold.
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on 10 May 2015
Excellent service, excellent book
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on 19 October 2013
I chose the British stories Ias am a member of a creative writers group .I find British short stories satisfy my love of story telling can't say the same for American tales don't get their humour A short story needs to have gained the readers interest from page oneWe Brits are better than anybody remember don't let the truth stand in the way of a good story that's why I loved this book. Dot Dillow
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on 14 October 2012
What I love the most about short stories is how talented the writer is to make the story happen in such a short space of time. The range of stories here are wonderful and well worth a read!My Mother is a Crocodile and Other Surprises
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