David Gaffney - More Sawn Off Tales (4 stars)

Small tales of great depth

More Sawn Off Tales

Salt Publications

When reading this collection of very short stories you will forget where you are, what you’re supposed to be doing and where you’re supposed to be going. It is utterly, and wonderfully addictive. Each 150-word story in this follow up to Sawn Off Tales is a self-contained universe, each a world where reality becomes irrelevant, and it’s the words that matter.

The strongest stories are the ones that explore detached and dysfunctional characters. For example, in It Happens Inside a radiologist X-rays items she has stolen from her neighbour in order to get to know him better. Like a lot of the stories in this collection, it’s deceptively simple and in only a few words explores the distances between us all, and the ways in which we try to bridge them.

Bleached Lichen Number Four is one of the most heart-wrenching stories of the collection, and depicts a man who attempts to communicate to his ex-girlfriend through the colour of her favourite paint. It, like many others in this fantastic collection, is a clever and poignant exploration of what it takes to be connected to another.

With More Sawn Off Tales, Gaffney has created very short stories that offer full, vivid and complete worlds for the reader to inhabit, and once inside they won’t want to leave.

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