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26 March 2010 @ 11:11 am
Tiny Deaths  
As usual I seem to be horribly behind on my reading pile. Tiny Deaths is a volume of short stories by Rob Shearman, who wrote the Dalek episode of the Eccleston Doctor Who season. Tiny Deaths caused quite a stir when it was released and went on to win the World Fantasy 2008 Award for best collection. It is, indeed, a pretty stonking collection of stories floating around the themes of love and death and, often, the impact of one upon the other.

They are all beautifully written (and gabcd86 will triumph to learn there are plenty of run on sentences). Given the themes, I don't think anyone will be surprised to learn that, while not uniformly depressing most of them are at least melancholic. I'm not sure what genre they are. Few of them are straightforward realist stories, but I would hesitate to call them science fiction or fantasy or even magic realism. Many of them are everyday seeming tales with one striking image or idea. For instance the central image in Static is of a bleeding television.

`TVs don't run on oil,' explained the repair man. `That doesn't make any sense.'

However this isn't the start of a tale of rampaging vampiric household appliances, but instead a terribly poignant story of an old man, grieving for his dead wife and possibly in the first stages of dementia.

My only caveat about the book is that I don't think Tiny Deaths is necessarily a book you would want to devour in one sitting, any more than you'd eat a whole quality stilton in one go (or (given some people on my flist) at least not without some good biscuits and a decent red for variety).

The award was thoroughly deserved and the book is highly recommended.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/1524.html.
the little creep: snufkinnyarbaggytep on March 26th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
Have added it to my Amazon list, thanks for the review.
louisedennis: bookslouisedennis on March 26th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
It's well worth reading, there's a strong vein of black humour through them as well, which I forgot to mention in the review.
parrot_knightparrot_knight on March 26th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC)
I have to catch up with this - Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical was magnificent and I'm sure I would enjoy its predecessor.
louisedennislouisedennis on March 27th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)
I haven't bought "Love songs" yet, thought I'd see if I enjoyed Tiny Deaths first - I should put the second on my wish list.