Fairlight Moderns new collection of short fictions from around the world, consisting of 5 books; due for release in paperback and kindle format on 11th July. I was lucky enough to be granted early access to three of the series
The Driveway Has No Sides ~ Sara Marchan
I really enjoyed this, at just under 130pages this was a great lazy Sunday afternoon read. Delilah moves into a previously abandoned cottage with a shared driveway on a small east coast island; Monday to Friday she works tirelessly to turn the cottage and its garden’s into a home funded by her boyfriend Alan who visits each weekend. She quickly becomes a central figure of the other islander’s gossip as they try to suss out this mysterious newcomer. It’s not the most dramatic of stories, I can’t promise you’ll be hanging onto the edge of your seat desperate to know what happens next but the characters and their relationships are great. I love the play on how quick the judge people can be and how that stereotype can be personified in small tightly knit communities, 4 stars.
Inside the Bone Box ~ Anthony Ferner
Nicholas Anderton is a neurosurgeon whose weight is becoming a threat to both his job and his marriage, this novella follows Nick as he reaches the pivotal moment of his professional capacity being questioned. Each chapter alternates between the perspectives of Nick and that of his wife Alyson; and are either a continuation of the present or a flashback to an earlier point in their career or marriage which gives you a great picture of how the couple have got to where they are; one of my favourite things was how realistic these two characters in particular were, they’re both flawed and while they do identify those flaws in themselves they’re doing what most people do which is pretend is a much smaller problem than it is. I think the book challenges a difficult topic to talk about, being set in the UK where obesity is continually becoming more of an issue the challenges Nick faces in the book must be a harsh reality for some and it’s great that it’s not shying away from things like this. I gave this three stars as I thought a couple of chapters were a bit disjointed from the overall plot and I didn’t get that ‘must keep reading’ feeling.
Bottled Goods ~ Sophie van Llewyn
My favourite of the three novellas, Bottled Goods follows Alina who grows up in communist Romania; everything is fine until her brother in law goes on holiday to France and doesn’t return. Being related to a defector but Alina and her husband under great suspicion from the authorities as well as affecting their societal rank. This was very quick based, covering something like 40 years in under 200 pages but despite this, it didn’t seem to skim over things, I still felt you were able to develop a connection to Alina and I found I was really rooting for her throughout. The format makes it really quick to read, very short chapters some of which are in list format so I definitely ended up telling myself I’d just read one more chapter, before realising I was practically done, 4 stars.
Aesthetically the paperbacks of these look lovely, I can’t promise if a couple; or five won’t end up on my bookshelf anytime soon; think bold colours and interpretive artwork. At around or under 150pages each these are perfect for discovering new authors and trying out new genres or for people who want to get back into reading with something less intimidating.
The Fairlight Moderns are available for pre-order now. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.