Synopsis: This anthology features the work of 33 talented new writers, representing almost all parts of the globe. Their pieces have been selected from the intercultural, literary showcase The Writer’s Drawer, run by academic editor and writer Beryl Belsky. The stories and poems in the anthology reflect not only literary merit but also the multicultural nature of the website and its contributors. The book is divided into three parts: Short Fiction, Stories from Life and Poetry. The Stories from Life, in particular, provide a fascinating look at the cultural mores and religious rituals of the countries of the writers. The book is an ideal gift for lovers of all genres of writing and for those who enjoy literature from different cultures. Its mix of cultural-specific and universal themes makes it an excellent tool for teachers to use in the classroom, too. Dip into a story or poem before sleep, in a coffee shop or during a trip.
The short fiction section covers ten stories, each from different authors spread around the globe (Canada, England, USA, Liberia / Thailand, South Africa, and Switzerland). With the first story, the title piece of the collection, by Canadian, Susan Rodgers, we start with a sense of foreboding – the kind I like in a story – before the story gets going. Character is what makes a story and although their surroundings play a large part, I liked the fact that they’re quite different people. This story is pacey yet slow in even quantities. My only gripe is that it switches point of view mid-paragraph but that’s me with my editor’s hat on. It’s a sad tale which is hinted at at several points during the story but you never know whether it will come or not, until it does… or not.
Next up is ‘Abigail’ by English writer Elizabeth L Abrey. The writing, especially the dialogue, feels rather stilted, too perfect in places and feels like Elizabeth is a new writer but I may be wrong. Although I like the idea, it doesn’t quite work for me which is a shame because I’m a big fan of twist stories. One problem was that Ruby’s described as a new neighbour yet he knows all about their family history.
The third story is another from the US, this time by IC Booth. The title ‘Seasoned Card Player’ hints at the plot although my idea was vanquished as the location revealed itself to be an old people’s home. A very sweet short short story, perhaps my favourite of the collection as it doesn’t feel as if it tries too hard to please but does so on its own merit.
From Liberia / Thailand comes a tale of stubbornness which comes with dire consequences – a ‘tale’ indeed.