I mentioned in my last post that I was reading the Ox Tales: Air, which is one book from a collection of four, created by Oxfam. Each book is related to an area of work that Oxfam do and so aptly named Air, Fire, Water and Earth. If you struggle to understand how this relates to their work they provide a little snippet at the end in the ‘afterword’ to link it to their work. The books are collections of short stories, or snippets of novels in progress. The authors vary from well known to people who are not as well known. As a consequence, the book offers something for everyone, as there is differing voices and styles throughout.
A particular favourite of mine was the short story ‘Suddenly Doctor Cox’ by DBC Pierre. The introductory lines are so hauntingly beautiful. I’ve copied them below. As you can see, he has a way with words!
‘Driving to work I saw the most beautiful road kill. It was a carpet of iridescent butterflies, squashed but flashing on the highway, as if concrete had worn thin over a seam of priceless opal. Wings twitched and glinted in the heat, surprising that human compulsion to stop and urgently gather treasures’
I’m not going to lie; it wasn’t the easiest book to read. At times it seems disjointed due to the fact that not all of the material consists of short stories, and features excerpt from novels. Some of the stories are tiresome to read and not much really seems to happen, but this does not necessarily mean that they are rubbish – they might not be to my taste. However, if you’re looking for a nice little text to dip in and out of, without committing great amounts of time to read it’s a perfect book. It’s slightly smaller than most books and so easier to carry around, and all royalties go to Oxfam – so you can feel like you’re making a slight difference just by reading! I’m definitely going to look into buying the other three in the collection, as the fire version has good reviews.
Anyway, I apologise if this review is a little undetailed but it’s hard to tell you about the stories without telling you everything as they are only short!