Not So Perfect: Stories Paperback – 2 Jun 2010
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Playful, subversive, poetic and smart, Nik Perring's stories are
gems. Every one of them. --3:AM Magazine
Don't be fooled by the title, this collection of stories rubs shoulders with perfect storytelling on numerous occasions. --Joe Melia. Coordinator of the The Bristol Short Story Prize
About the Author
Nik Perring lives in Cheshire where he writes, mostly, short stories. He's been writing things since 2003, first contributing to magazines and newspapers before moving on to fiction. His first book, one for children, was published in 2006.
Nik's real love is short stories and his have been published widely, online and in print, in the UK and abroad, appearing in 3:AM, SmokeLong Quarterly, Word Riot and Metazen, amongst others. His stories have been read at events, been printed on fliers, and used as part of an educational creative writing course.
Not So Perfect is his first collection.
Top Customer Reviews
There are twenty-two stories in total, each tiny, complete slivers of life. The reader slices through at a tangent: details, snatches of conversation, brushstroke backgrounds are picked up on the way past.
Several of the stories spin around experimental concepts: a mechanical woman finds her perfect mate; a woman vomits animals; a gardener talks to his flowers, who listen; a man just fades away. You are trusted to not need explanation. For me they work as stories because you don't feel the need to ask why, although if you aren't a fan of the off-kilter this could be a drawback.
Other stories are more conventional. My favourite of these is 'Sobs', about two lonely people in adjoining hotel rooms.
Some stories are more successful than others, but all of them work as good flash fiction should: they are greater than the sum of their parts. In `Seconds are Ticking By' and `Shark Boy' I felt Nik Perring demonstrates just what flash fiction should be when it is perfect: they flew. Then they lodge themselves inside you and flutter for long after you've read them.
If this book were food it would be an exquisite plate of petits fours. You admire them and nibble at them, wary of guzzling or you'd finish too soon. They are perfectly delicious.
Not So Perfect features twenty-two of Nick's short stories. The premise is focusing on twenty-two extraordinary circumstances, with the lives of folks who are notably flawed, yet possess potential for hope, a capacity for love and can achieve happiness through confidence and if fate permits it.
All and each of the stories contained here are simple, yet rich in both variety and power. Every single story I read in Not So Perfect had a great impact on me, filling me with senses of hope, sadness, loss, tragedy, satisfaction, contentment, despair and elation. All in all, this very much reflects human nature and life itself, but nothing is overstated or contrived. It feels natural and plausible, ultimately making this book rather endearing.
Perring's short stories range from radical to grounded, packed with all kinds of wonderful metaphors, philosophies and real imaginative flair. The author's writing itself is wonderful and accessible. Anyone can pick up Not So Perfect and understand the meaning of Nik's message to the world. It's not only concise, it's just loaded with charm.
There's not a single dud story to be found in Not So Perfect, but the ones I would really recommend are "Kiss", "Shark Boy", "Not Nitro", "Watching, Listening", "My Heart's in a Box", "Two Old Women Watching in My Garden", "The Other Mr Panossian", "Sobs", "The Angel in the Car Park" and "Number 14". To me, these made for the most essential readings.Read more ›
Twenty-two perfect short stories told with humour and a clever eye for the intricate detail of human frailty.
Nik Perring captures beautifully key moments of everyday life; communication, laughter, sadness, love and loss.
The emotions experienced, linger in the mind of the reader for many hours and days. My favourites are Shark Boy and Lump.
I suspect this is the first of many books from a rare talent - I certainly hope so! I highly recommend this book of short stories which pack an authentic emotional punch!
Not So Perfect is a collection of 22 short stories. They're very short - the shortest stories don't cover a page and the longest is maybe four or five sides long (and the book's only about the size of a CD case, so the pages aren't all that big). Most of them therefore fit very comfortably into the 'flash' bracket.
Nik's writing style is very clear and concise, perhaps even minimalist. He distils the events he describes to the bare essentials; there's no lingering, no flowery prose. If you're used to reading classics, or just more "traditional" writing, it can feel a little sparse at times, although there's a real warmth to it, too. In several of the stories, the characters aren't named, and only a few of them take place in a definite location. Flash fiction does put significant demands on the reader; there are a lot of blanks to fill in.
Nearly all the stories deal with relationships - whether they're just starting, stalling, or coming to an end. Some of the stories have strongly surreal or at least slightly skewed elements. There's a lot of sweetness, too - although sometimes it's concealed under a darker veneer.
I really enjoyed this collection, and having read it again, I found plenty of new aspects I'd missed the first time around. In a lot of flash fiction, I sometimes reach the end of a story and wonder if perhaps the author brought things to a close a little too soon, or left a bit too much out for me to be really sure I'd 'got' the point he was making.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nik Perring is an author to watch out for, this was magnificent.Published 9 months ago by Andrew Morris
I'm surprised at all the fuss over this book. Didn't like it. Didn't see the point in reading more than the 6 or 7 stories I tried before abandoning this. Ill stick to etgar keret.Published on 23 May 2013 by L
Good things come in small packages. Not So Perfect is a tiny little square - 5 x 5 inches. But in this tiny package is a perfect collection of flash fiction. Read morePublished on 23 April 2011 by DMM
These short short stories are glorious ammunition to fire at those who link brevity with insubstantiality. Read morePublished on 14 April 2011 by Tania Hershman
Nik Perring has a fantastic way of taking everyday situations, the ordinary, and turning them into something completely, extraordinary. Read morePublished on 13 April 2011 by Steve Murphy
The first thing that struck me about Not So Perfect by Nik Perring was the length of the stories, they are indeed short, short stories. Read morePublished on 12 April 2011 by DecodingStatic
This is one of my favourite short story collections.
It's touching, quirky, and entertaining throughout. Read more
This book is an example of something not doing what it says on the tin. The stories are perfect. For reasons that lots of other people have given. Read morePublished on 3 Oct. 2010 by Nicola Morgan