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Glimmer and other stories: Unusual and curious tales of magical realism, horror, mystery, suspense and love by [McDonagh, Nicola]
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Glimmer and other stories: Unusual and curious tales of magical realism, horror, mystery, suspense and love Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Length: 155 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Nicola McDonagh was born in Liverpool and is a creative writing tutor and photographer. Originally Nicola trained as a photojournalist, then decided to do something more theatrical and gained a Hons. Degree in Drama and English Literature. Nicola spent many years as an actor, scriptwriter and workshop leader, but gave all that up when she moved to Suffolk UK and became fascinated by the beauty of her surroundings. Nicola returned to her love of literature and after gaining a Diploma in Creative Writing, and won the Suffolk Book League’s Short Story Competition in 2011 with ‘Glimmer’. Nicola was short-listed for the Escalator Genre Fiction Competition the following year with an extract from her unorthodox YA sci-fi novel ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2411 KB
  • Print Length: 155 pages
  • Publisher: Oddly Books; 1 edition (9 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H89AN1M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #521,596 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’m pleased to find myself reviewing another short story collection. Not long ago, the short story was a dying breed and it is so good to see quality short fiction hitting the shelves. Glimmer is a short collection of just seven stories, each one a gem.
The first story is itself called Glimmer which is a shrewd title for a powerful narrative that presents the reader with an unreliable narrator, but no way to tell how unreliable, all we get are the glimmers of her life.
The Reclaimed Merman starts with an encounter on a beach. It’s a tale that unfolds in quite unexpected ways. As with all the stories in this collection, beautiful imagery is woven in, but it’s not there for the sake of it, it isn’t background painted for the reader, every word pulls its weight in moving the story on. It’s only when you emerge at the end that you realise you weren’t actually on the beach with the breeze in your hair, looking in on Dys and her creations. Very cleverly done.
Scarecrow is told from the viewpoint of a little girl, Katy, and retains the simplicity of the 10-year-old’s outlook on life, but as the story unfolds, layers of complexity show behind the apparently straightforward sequence of events.
On the Eighth Day is a real gem of a tale. From the start there is a compelling sense of secrets to uncover, something about to happen, but it’s never quite what you expect as the denouement approaches and the truth gradually dawns.
Daub, the story that follows, shares a physical artefact with the previous tale, though it’s a completely different topic and style. It is this that makes me wonder suddenly how this diverse set of stories holds together so well. It’s not by anything as explicit as a common theme, it is these small touches and far more subtle.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
‘Glimmer and other stories’ is a miniature treasure chest of jewels. I absolutely loved these short stories. As I was reading, I fell into a trance of adjectival excess... they were mesmerising, masterful, original, eloquent, lyrical, clever... There are some books I know I will return to, to savour them again with the same pleasure, and this is one of them. Nicola McDonagh’s use of language is subtly poetic; the words flow with a sensuous rhythm that carries the reader along on a wave of colourful narrative, sprinkled with uniquely painted descriptions that I found enchanting. Here are some of the most memorable examples:

In ‘Glimmer’– “I felt the sun on my cheeks and heard its heat melt away her frown...”

In ‘Scarecrow’– “The moon shone bright and made drops of water that clung onto the cobwebs shimmer like diamonds... like necklaces left out to dry by ghosts.”

In ‘Daub’– “...shadows... crawled along the skirting boards and up the walls like dirty fingers groping for something clean.” The story itself was imbued with a mystical quality that made all the stories such compelling reading. Nicola McDonagh has perfected the art of letting the deeper meaning lurking in the shadows of her stories creep up on you. And when it does it is shocking, even a little disturbing, but for me always satisfying.

I was overcome with a fit of superlatives again while reading ‘On the Eighth Day’. For me, it was an exquisite exemplar of sophisticated eroticism, an intriguing mystery that built up to its climax so stealthily that its chilling significance only gradually dawned.

There are seven bright jewels in this collection, and I have left descriptions of the rest for you to discover for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It was very difficult for me to pick an overall favorite out of this showcase of seven. Yet four of them really stood out for me: Glimmer, On the Eighth Day, Daub and Rousseau’s Suburban Jungle.

Glimmer spoke to me because it really played with the workings of the mind. Which was truly the reality: the character’s take or everyone else’s? The first line really set the ambiance: “The world will not end because I close my eyes.”

I absolutely love the richness of personification in On the Eighth Day. I can always appreciate when an author can take an inanimate object and give it human characteristics. It reminded me of what I tend to do with some elements of my poetry (fear, pain, happiness, and the like). I connected with it very strongly.

The spook element of Daub excited me. I’m a huge fan of psychological, thriller, and horror reads that are carried out well. Timing, dialogue, reactions, everything–very well placed. It was refreshing to have the type of short dark read that wasn’t overly predictable.

I was not sure what to make of Rousseau’s Suburban Jungle at first. That is the beauty of this author’s work. You don’t know what you’re going to get. Yet there were so many segments I liked about it. One was the banter between the saleslady and Esther about the print. Yet there are two more that stand out greater than that exchange.

The tenacity of Jenny the dog spoke volumes. She was the epitome of “Don’t mess with my master.” When Jenny got into action, I wish she would have bitten a bit more of that guy or even an additional appendage–if you get my drift. I also would have liked her to thrown in a bite towards the fakery known as Louise.

With all of her stories, there is a connective fabric.
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