Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Book Review: ORPHANS Stories by Tim Cummings

ORPHANS promised a mix of short stories, poems, plays and screen plays with settings ranging from 40s Florida to the limbo between life and death - an eclectic mix that caught my eye. The introduction explains how the collection came into being and hints at a rawness and fragmentary feel. I found the intro fascinating and read on in anticipation.

ORPHANS stories
I enjoyed the short stories, some were shocking, like the one about a mother who wants to kill her child, some touching like A Feast for Famished Guilt but overall they were well-written and entertaining. I'd struggle to pick a favourite as I really liked them all. The poetry and dramatic writing drew more of a mixed response from me. In part I was drawn in and read on rapt, in part I found my attention drifting and struggled to read each and every piece. It has been a very long time since I have read any poetry and I'm not a big fan so I'm probably not the best person to judge. However some of them I liked, some of them I didn't. The same went for the dramatic writing. While I really liked Richard & Gerard and Level Seven, which had similar other-worldly themes, Host was just far too surreal for me. And while I thought the screenplay for The Jocks - vs - The Goths was great it felt a bit too familiar being such a well-trodden path.

The work covers an eclectic mix of topics, some of which may make for uncomfortable reading for those whose are easily offended or dislike the grittier side of life. ORPHANS offers a real variety which is possibly its strength and its weakness. The works are so different I imagine many readers will find gems but also things they dislike. My reaction to the pieces I didn't like was probably stronger than the positive feelings about the pieces I did like, and so my rating is lower than it would have been otherwise. This is definitely something quite different, and variety is the spice of life!

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*

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