Two hundred words are not enough to review this beautiful book of short story writing.
The 61 flash fiction stories included in this slim volume cover all aspects of life in a thoughtful and original way using vignettes to see into the complexities of human relationships. Through them all is threaded the author’s connection with the natural world which significantly weaves its way into each narrative.
McQuillan’s use of language is artful and exquisite as she uses an economy of words to convey maximum meaning for example, “After a lifetime of swallowing words, her oesophagus is lined with arguments that blister the walls”, and, “You have two ears and one mouth to be used in proportion”.
There are no superfluous words with each word having merit in its placement and meaning.
The stories range from wryly humorous , “It Depends Which Team You’re In”, about reactions to Gareth Morgan’s suggestion for a ban on cats, to “Mother of Miners”, a mother’s grief for the loss of her son buried underground, pertinent to the Pike River disaster in NZ but also universal in sentiment.
This would be a good addition to any library as a good introduction to the art of flash fiction writing, and also for reading aloud to senior students.
I would highly recommend this book to enthusiastic readers aged 16+
Title: Where Oceans Meet and Other Stories
Author: Heather McQuillan
Publisher: Reflex Press, UK
Ages: 16 plus
Reviewer: Anabel McPhee, Librarian, The Catlins Area School, South Otago
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening line: This is not a swimming beach.