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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 23 October 2006
This book is a trailblazer, surely a one-off, something truly unique. Just 116 pages long, containing as many as 58 (yes, 58) short stories in all, none of which is longer than 300 words or so (some are even shorter), it is nonetheless a masterpiece. I was going to say "a masterpiece of its kind" except that this book has no kith or kin. And that's a lie. Because there are created things it reminds me of - it recalls for me the pithiness and truth of Japanese haiku perhaps, but not prose. And yet, as prose,it is totally satisfying. Yet weird.

Imagine, if you will, that Edward Hopper's Nighthawks (and his other New Yorkers) refuse to remain silent and speak up for a change - and speak in English accents (for God's sake!)and ship out of New York to make landfall in English places. And then imagine, too, that Ray Bradbury is commissioned to write the script with his sci-fi head in gear.

Well, that's David Gaffney and that's SAWN-OFF TALES.

It's odd-ball, it's cranky; it's whimsical and inventive and frightening. It's appalling and enthralling too. It's hilariously funny. It's wonderful gear, a really refreshing change: it's fiction as fiction should be - heading out into the great creative unknown, and devil take the hindmost. And truth to tell, I know far more Christmas stockings that would cheerfully gobble this book up in preference to the latest Dean Koontz or John Grisham.
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on 14 August 2007
These beautiful stories crafted in so few words reflect the unique writing skills of this author.Revealing, hilarious and entertaining, they add so much to the rich genre of short stories and to the other collections like Usurper and Other Stories, A twist in the Tale, Anton Chekov's, other short stories that have made my day. I will always watch out for more David Gaffney stories.
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on 23 June 2015
I like this style of short fiction. Although they are all very similar length and the attraction of them is that they are a very short stories it does become a little repetitive after a while. A book to dip in and out of. Some lovely ideas, well executed. Entertaining read. A good intro to short/flash/micro/quick fiction.
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on 2 September 2006
Gaffney's stories get under your skin, up your nose and, like literary ferrets, down your trousers. The plots are uncanny, often surreal; a man falls out with his barber over a pricing policy, another has a thing for female shoplifters, a station announcer inspires love in her listeners, and a competition to win a private concert by the Sugar Babes goes disastrously wrong. In dozens of scenes involving hundreds of characters, Gaffney in his deader than deadpan way, weaves a complex picture from joy and darkness in equal parts. They will have you laughing like at a Tommy Cooper video though you know that there's something hideous gnawing at the door to get in.
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on 12 June 2016
Gaffney's micro-fiction works are of such a level or artistry that you feel it's a straightforward, natural thing, and that you could probably do it. Then when you stop reading and think about trying it - you realise the artistry involved. Like a lot of great writing you're encouraged to realise things for yourself and not be told. Things are implied and not stated. Most of the tales are comic - some darkly so and some tragicomic - just like life, really. I bought this for a Christmas present and, as the extended family gathered Boxing Day, I saw people of three different generations pick it up and all seemed to enjoy it greatly.
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on 9 October 2009
We read this for our book club. We wanted something short because one member has new babies and falls asleep, so needs short works!

We LOVED it. The stories are something like haikus, densely packed poems to play with and open up in your imagination.

I can't recommend them highly enough.
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on 27 May 2013
David's work is exceptional. Here is a man who can craft a few hundred words into some of the funniest and most poignant stories I have read in a long time. Don't read any more reviews - this one says it all. Just go and buy the book.

Julian.
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on 29 September 2014
Gorgeous stories! Short enough to slot in anywhere but characters big enough to stay with you all day. We all know the characters in Gaffney's stories. We meet them every day. We love them and we love to hate them.
I was so deflated when this book came to an end but I will be buying More Sawn Off Tales.
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on 3 September 2006
In this set of new ultra short stories David Gaffney offers a new take on everything from aching lovers, redundant factory workers, tragic bedsits, and ham-handed courtships. An abandoned husband sticks frozen snacks all over his walls to mourn his estranged wife; a company forces its staff take up smoking; a local council trains its bin men to dance and sing. His stories make you giggle and sob at the same time (which, I warn you can cause choking - coffee came out of my nose while reading one of these) Gaffney stories are pies. They stick like to your ribs like metal toffee, and will probably make you fat - fat and lovely to know. I hope he writes more and gives them to me.
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on 8 September 2006
I read this collection of tales and laughed out loud to several of them (and guiltily laughed in private to the others). The stories are wittily written and I found myself nodding in understanding before shuddering at some of the dark twists.

It's definitely one of those books to share with friends but don't put it down, you won't get it back.
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