Short almost abrupt stories are followed by longer, more fleshed out ones maintaining an erratic (but engaging) pace to this book. Dickson Telfer’s stories are joyful, sad, playful, nice, naughty, touching, some even cringe-worthy but above all, they are hilarious. This book is a brilliant collection of short stories. And it’s only his first!
It is hard for me to pick a favourite story here. When I settle on one, I suddenly remember how much I laughed reading another, and so continues this endless cycle. Telfer writes a huge range of characters, each with their very own dark or peculiar musings. Suddenly, with no great introduction to them and only the intensity of the present moment and their private thoughts, they become so familiar. There is wit and irony behind their oddities and circumstances even when they appear painful. I loved that he left wide-open endings for most of his stories. The possibilities in my head are endless.
I found myself going back to certain stories like Fast Motion, Cake Mixture, The Opposite of Nathanael and Memories Of A Sweetheart over and over again not for what he wrote, but how he wrote them too. Telfer is clever with his words and plays around with them to create a real audio-visual experience. In Fast Motion; the
“Click Click Flash! Click Click Flash!
Flash! Click Flash! Click
Click Flash! Click Click”
of the cameras randomly dance around the page. I can hear the chaos of a conference, frantic news crews, and I can see the incessant flashing of cameras.
In The Opposite Of Nathanael; there not just a “long awkward silence” but instead a very poetic,
“ l o n g
This book may challenge some of your perceptions. I found myself pausing to think of what normal really is with this one. What is a normal life? What is normal anyway but a painful…overrated…blah blah blah…exhausting experience…blah blah blah…trying to fit into a mould that people…blah blah blah…don’t know or love you expect you to…
Then I continued reading. And laughing.