A collection of six incidents, memories and curiosities. Some of these short stories are happy, some of them are not so happy. It’s difficult to tell whether any of them are related, such quandaries are never resolved easily.
Includes the 2014 eFestival of Words Best Short Story, X.
Jack Croxall is a most industrious chap. He trained as an Environmental Scientist and now utilses his sciencey knowledge in his YA fiction and other writing adventures. His latest YA publication, Six Short Stories, is a collection of, well, six short stories … does what it says on the tin.
There is a lovely range of narrative style and subject from ghostly happenings in the 1800’s to a post apocalyptic nightmare somewhere in the future and other charming tales in between.
I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s a little snapshot from each story:
1. Guardian angel. This is an uplifting tale that highlights that things are not always as bad as they seem. When all hope is lost there is always another option. And don’t be so sure about what you want; be flexible; be kind; be generous. Nice.
2. Rose Root. This a haunting tale about a rumoured ghost. Its told in the style of a newspaper article. The use of language is particularly evocative of the 19th century in which it is set. Spooky and realistic in its delivery. I like this one a lot.
3. Scruffy. This reminds me a little of the style of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. There’s something quite bittersweet about hearing a deeply tragic story from an innocent voice.
4. Space dementia. Jack takes us into deep space to talk about the importance of mental health. It’s about sharing, not bottling up feelings or secrets and standing up for what you believe in. A good story with a good message.
5. Tethered. Like Rose Root, this is another late 19th century setting. It is a short newspaper article that tells a big story.
6. X. A zombie story with a tragic twist. The hero is an unnamed teenage girl. We follow her in the final weeks of her life during an invasion of ‘uglies’. This was named Best Short Story in the 2014 eFestival of Words.
Six Short Stories showcases Jack’s ability to manipulate language to fit the story. He goes from very traditional English to a child’s voice to a counselling session in outer space. Each story is wrapped up in the language used and each character feels genuine. I’m always so impressed with writers of short stories in how they can create whole worlds with so few words. Amazing.
I very much enjoyed Jack’s collection of short stories. I recommend reading in conjunction with a cuppa and a [barrel of] biscuit[s] of a lazy afternoon. Perfection.
p.s. Thank you Mr Croxall for letting me read and review Six Short Stories.