From the heartbreak of Julie Davies 'The Bridge' to the black humour of Stephen Atkinson’s 'Dining by Moonlight', David Vernon’s anthology has a tale for every mood. The title story by Michael Wilkinson is cleverly crafted and Charles Brister’s 'Lay of the Land' is a masterpiece. 'Hitler Did It' – another winner from Stringybark and the best $2 you’ll spend this year.
Stew and Sinkers
on Feb. 09, 2014
Peter Smallwood is right: this is an eclectic collection with something for everyone. I enjoyed Kerry Cameron's laconic description of the vomiting bear in 'Ursa Major'. Debra Booth's 'Stew and sinkers' is a worthy winner and I smiled at Pippa Kay's word-picture of Mr Collins the hangman, puffing away flies in 'A Proper Job'. Gary Barber's 'The Sleeper Passer' is a favourite and Melissa Coffey's 'Motherlines' packs an emotional wallop. Well done writers and well done Stringybark!
Half-way through Wuthering Heights on my Kindle, I paused to swap misery and vexation for Australian sunshine in Side by Side. I cried with laughter at Belly’s downhill disaster and wept for Liz in ‘Till Death Us Do Part’ and young Hazel in ‘Eggshells’. No Stringybark anthology would be complete without Beverly Lello and Michael Wilkinson; Mahmoud is honoured to be in such company. “Side by Side is Stringybark’s best yet!” I ejaculated. Now, back to the moors . . .
It took me longer than I'd expected to read ‘Role of a Lifetime’ because the fifth story, Pia Riley’s ‘Beach Ball’ delivered such an emotional punch that I was left bruised like her “dark and broken sky.” It was several weeks before I could steel myself to finish the remaining stories. Once again, David Vernon and the Stringybark judges have chosen a wonderful array of themes, twists and surprises for this collection. Just allow yourself time to recover from story #5.