Once in a while, I come across a book that is so right up my street it lets itself into my house, kicks off its shoes and curls up on my sofa, and this is one of those books. Marrow, by Simon Sylvester, is a self-published collection of 28 flash-fictions, only half of which have appeared in public before, and all of which are very fine indeed.
Before I even saw this book, I knew I was in capable hands. About this time last year, I published one of Simon’s stories on 1000words, The Black and the White of It, so if you want a taste of the delights you can find in Marrow, pop over and have a quick read.
Are you back? Yes? Good story isn’t it?
I know the reason we buy books is so we can read the stories inside, but when a book feels good in my hands, the whole story-reading experience is enhanced, which is certainly what happened with Marrow. The paper it’s printed on is warm and smooth and heavy and feels great to hold. The cover is a thing of beauty, worthy of framing and hanging on the wall. Between the covers, each story has room to breathe on the page. The book itself is perfect.
As I said above, all of the stories in Marrow are very fine indeed. Since gobbling my way through them earlier in the week, I’ve found myself dipping in and out, again and again. Every story is beautifully-written. From a writer’s point of view, it was wonderful to be able to relax into a book and not find myself editing as I went – for me, there wasn’t a word out of place. From a reader’s point of view, it was wonderful to be swept away into other people’s lives for brief and powerful moments. The opening, and titular, story, was so near the knuckle it had me on the edge of tears. Snow on the Water, a tale about my favourite mythical creatures, Selkies, had me mesmerised. Hutch, a story of parental good intentions gone awry, had me holding my breath and left me reeling.
I know it’s a cliché to say that there’s something for everyone in this book, but I’m convinced there is. If you like short fiction (and some of it is very short) I’d encourage you to buy a copy.
Marrow is available from Simon’s website for the very reasonable price of £6. If you’d like to find out why Simon chose to self-publish this collection, come back on Wednesday to read his guest post on the subject.
5/5 – Amazing
(I was given a free copy of this book to read and review.)
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