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My Baby Shot Me Down Paperback – 29 Mar 2014
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I loved and related to the topics, the humour and the honesty, along with the delectable writing.
The short stories were interesting and diverse. From contemporary issues, which tugged at the heartstrings: 'Guests' by Alison Wassell and 'Buried' by Laura Wilkinson, to a skilled faction piece that describes a Hibakusha survivor, 'Atomic' by Ruth Starling. There's a fantastic, futuristic story of a polluted world, 'Decisions' by Clarissa Angus, and a fable-like piece that preludes a painful reality, 'Mourning Glory' by Katherine Black. There are two cleverly constructed stories: 'Tissue Atlas' by Rachael Smart reveals narrative through a woman's scars, and 'Madagascar' by Claudine Lazar is a one-sided conversation that unravels character and situation brilliantly.
The thing that impressed me the most is although I had a personal preference for some pieces above others (as is always the case in anthologies) every one of the authors had something unique to contribute and each wrote at least one piece that I loved. Recommended!
The stories all have strong character voices, some adults, some children and what I particularly enjoyed was how they each captured not only some essence of being human, but life, how we live, conflicts and all. All give us something to stand and think about and some lived beyond the page.
I was impressed with the standard overall with some richly textured language. Hard to single out any one author or story so I will leave that to you. But as a collection to showcase new and emerging talent, this does that very well. Recommended.
Ten authors are featured, and each contributes a few pieces. Arranged together you get more of a feel for the author's work than where there is just one story. There's plenty of variety in style and subject matter.
Like many people who have reviewed the book, I don't really feel qualified to review poetry. What became apparent when I read through the book was that I was basing how much I liked the poems on subject matter, rather than on the writing. So I'll just say that Capturing Beauty was my favourite poem with its careful description of painting birds, and Queer as Folk, by the same writer (Deborah Hambrook) made me smile.
The prose is varied in length and style as well. There's something for everyone from traditional short stories to more experimental pieces like Rachael Smart's Tissue Atlas. Claudine Lazar's A Game to Play is a lot of fun, Kathernie Black's I didn't Hurt the Baby is harrowing. There's the supernatural in The Whispering Wall by Laura Wilkinson, Clarissa Angus's Love and App-iness is a witty take on modern dating, and, as they say on adverts, there's much, much more.
To say "there's something for everyone" makes it sound trite and bland, it isn't. It's a great showcase of modern women writers. I expect we'll here more from all the women featured in the future. Here's your chance for future you to be able to say "Oh, I read her early stuff when it first came out."