Book review: Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways edited by Tahlia Newland

the cover of the book

An eclectic mix of short stories from authors featured on the Awesome Indies website, Awesome Allshorts has something for every reader.

The story

From the mundane to the downright weird, Awesome Allshorts showcases the talents of twenty one authors from various parts of the world in this collection of flash and short fiction. There's something here for everyone.

These stories make the mundanity of day-to-day activities entrancing, or tell tales of other times and places. The first story is an excerpt from Thalia Newland's metaphysical fiction novel, just to get the reader in the mood. From there, we read about Blind Howard's daily sojourn on the bus, the mysterious old guy in Lewis's office who's name nobody knows, the Aussie bloke who moved house because his wife won the lottery, the heartwrenching story of the fall of Tibet, the day Nana met Smilin Mike the wrestler, Joan Kerr's portrayal of the harshness of life in country Australia, the point of view of a zombie, a man trying to save his marriage, a woman trying to get out of hers, the story of a wet nurse in old world Ireland, the menu list for a particularly unhappy dinner party, and a man convinced he's borrowing somebody else's life. AND THAT'S NOT EVEN ALL!

The style

The stories in this anthology are not only well selected, they are also well ordered. Obviously, every reader's interests are different, and every reader will have favourite genres, or stories that suit their tastes better than others. While there were some stories in the collaboration which didn't really grab me, they were far and few between, and I mean that literally: there weren't two stories next to each other that both underwhelmed me. Which meant I knew if there was something I wasn't keen on, the next one was sure to be different. I think that's a very important feature in a short story anthology.

The styles of each author were distinct, which was great. There was nothing too same-y in the writing. I'm a sucker for a sense of place or something mundane written differently, so I loved the Australian stories, the dinner party story (by a Kiwi author), and also the wrestling. Each of these stood out for me, as I'm sure something different will stand out for every reader. I thoroughly recommend this collection, showcasing the high standards of some of the great independent authors featured on the awesome indies website.

Who is this book for?

A great gift. Christmas is coming, if the extreme shop decorations are anything to go by.

If you like this book, you would also like...

There are bios for each of the authors listed at the back of the book, pick a favourite and buy one of their other books! Joan Kerr, one of the minds behind the hilarious Gert Loveday, is featured a couple of times, and I'm looking forward to getting into some other authors I've just discovered too!

In short

Title: Awesome Allshorts
Author: Tahlia Newland (ed)
Publisher: AIA Publishing
Year published: 2014
Pages: 230
Genre(s): Short stories