Thursday, January 12, 2012

Angry cat, striped and in the dark.

Among my Christmas presents were two books of short stories which I very much enjoyed, so I thought I'd share them with you.

The first is Some New Ambush by Carys Davies, out of the publishing house Salt. It's a strong collection of joyful shorts and short shorts with a fascinating range of voices, faces and places. One of them, Hwang, is near as damnit perfect as short stories go.

The second is Eugie Foster's Returning My Sister's Face, a pleasing book of Far Eastern folk and fairy tales. They are written for a western audience, but the necessary explanations are stitched in so sensitively that the join is invisible. Spirits and humans malicious, mischievous and benign meet and part and meet again. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the snow spirit -- I love to see a writer returning to a theme and giving it a different treatment each time.

1. Alec's current passion is the page in one of his books that shows the shocking sharp toothed face of an angry cat. He keeps flipping back to it and putting his fingers right in its mouth. I think he likes our attempts at the text: "EEEEEOWWWFFTZ!"

2. The striped shadows of railings fall across the path ahead.

3. To doze off in the afternoon and wake up in the dark.