1. the short review: Sharp Sticks, Driven Nails

Almost a year after its publication, Sharp Sticks Driven Nails, our most recent anthology of new stories, is still receiving critical attention. In the latest issue of the short review, Mithram Somasundrum discusses many of the stories in the collection, and finds much to like:

In the introduction, editor Philip Ó Ceallaigh describes the short story form as a paradox: it asks only a modest investment of your time but can have grand designs on your emotions. The best of the stories in his collection have just that […] and by the end of this collection you realise Philip Ó Ceallaigh’s paradox isn’t paradoxical at all. The best of these stories don’t ask modest investments of time. Instead they continue to live on in the mind long after they are over.
Read the full review

2. Necessary Fiction reviews: Issue 18 of the Stinging Fly

To top off a good week for Stinging Fly reviews, Necessary Fiction have given our Issue 18 a very fine write-up. In a wonderful move, the reviewer, Michelle Bailat-Jones, puts the opening lines from the issue’s eight pieces of fiction (seven stories, one novel extract) into one paragraph:

When the father came in late that evening and was halfway through his dinner I told him that someone had shot a bullet through Joejoe’s front window. For days now there have been rumours that a truck will be coming from Mutare. Miss said he bled through seven bandages before the doctor came. I bought a heart. It is Saturday evening and below his window Andrew hears his two daughters playing with their friends. It is a good day to buy a bed because it’s Tuesday and the shops are quiet. Valentine Neary, senior bouncer at the Peacock Bar and Niteclub, had something in his teeth. The Ffrench’s door is always cleaner than ours.
and then states:

Despite the point-of-view shifting and obvious topical differences, there is a lovely consistency here. Whether slow-burning or urgent, these are all stories of personal emergency. Not disaster or tragedy, but the panic that follows a startling emergence. The unexpected appearance of an emotion, understanding or action. This is fiction that takes up with specific personal reactions to the unforeseen.
Read the full review