SMITH Magazine - One Life, Six Words, What’s Yours? (2 stars)

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SMITH Magazine - One Life, Six Words, What’s Yours?

(HarperPress)

MINIMALIST MEMOIRS

Ernest Hemingway, challenged to write a six-word story, came up with ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’. Inspired by that, literary website SMITH Magazine accumulated six-word memoirs from everyday punters and authors alike. This collection has moments of poignancy and humour, but is ultimately underwhelming thanks to the narrow range of contributors. Most of these snippets are from white-collar Westerners with computer access, a penchant for literary websites and too much time on their hands to spend in solipsistic navel gazing.

Also, no offence, authors tend to lead crushingly boring lives, and their contributions are mainly to do with writing and little else. John Banville at least gets points for honesty with ‘Should have lived more, written less’. But for every engaging entry (‘Rubber nipples, dimpled thumbs, Camel Lights’, ‘Adopted? Are you fucking shitting me?’) there’s a lot of quasi-profound repetitive dross. Six-word review? ‘Doesn’t live up to initial premise.’

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