Tuesday 1 May 2018

Review ~ Paisley Shirt by Gail Aldwin

Chapeltown Books
February 2018

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

I'm not overly familiar with the concept of Flash Fiction. I see it mentioned from time to time but have never really been tempted to go further and see what it's all about, so when approached by the author of Paisley Shirt to read her book of Flash Fiction stories, I was intrigued to find out more.

Paisley Shirt is an eclectic collection of 27 short stories, some longer than others, and one a little more than a list, but collectively they are all beautifully expressed and are self-contained within themselves so that there is nothing superfluous about their content.

There's a lyrical quality to the stories which drew my eye and took me by surprise as it allowed my senses, so often jaded by reading too much, to gently search each story for its hidden meaning.  That there can be so much hidden meaning in a story of just a couple of hundred words, or on some occasion less, reiterated the concept that less is more and that emotional expression doesn't always require huge meanderings of prose.

I have some personal favourites amongst the 27, one in particular, Stone is a story so poignant in its simplicity, and which took up less than 100 words, and yet, it expressed love so eloquently that it quite took my breath away. Others made me smile by their twist in the tale and Restaurant is a fine example of this, I loved the final dénouement.  And one story, Accidental Brother, made me so sad that I had to go back and re-read it.

Paisley Shirt is a small book which packs a real punch and reading through the cleverly observed stories has definitely given me a real insight into world of Flash Fiction. I understand now that good story telling is not merely restricted to the full size novel and that so much can be expressed and observed in just a few short words.

Gail Aldwin is a prize winning writer of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. There is a novel incubating. It is Gail's long ambition to become fluent in Spanish. She may one day escape to Guatemala to make this happen.

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