9 February 2014 2 Comments
Author: Sam Thompson
Summary: On crowded streets, in the town squares and half-empty tower blocks, the lonely and lost try to make a connection. A weary gumshoe pounds the reeking sidewalks, seeking someone he knows he will never find. Violence loiters in blind alleys, eager to embrace the unsuspecting and the reckless. Lovers are doomed to follow treacherous paths that were laid long before they first met.
This city is no ordinary place. Here, the underworld has surfaced; dreams melt into reality and memories are imagined before they are lived. Ghosts and monsters, refugees and travellers – the voices of Communion Town clamour to tell the stories of the city, stories that must be heard to be believed.
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
Review: I found this really hard to read, and the most frustrating thing is i can’t articulate why.
A series of short and seemingly unrelated short stories, all set in the same fictional town. I liked that idea. I expected there to be a little, maybe even insignificant, overlap between the stories (passing characters in the street or things mentioned in passing in one story being the crux of another). It doesn’t happen like that.
I will say i really enjoyed the first story. It intrigued me. I hoped things mentioned in that story would be hinted at or expanded upon in others. Nothing was.
Each story is so different. Past tense, present tense; first person, third person; private investigator noir, Sherlockian detective. There is no flow, from one story to the next, nothing–nothing–binds them except for the fact they are set in the same town. I don’t know, maybe that’s the point, but i just found it a struggle to come out of one story and launch into another that was completely different.
I think the author is trying too hard. That’s what i came away from this with. The quote on the front of the book says: “…here is a new writer working out what he can do and realising he can do anything.” I would say it’s more a writer who thinks he can do anything, and this is his attempt to show off.
Everything seems steeped in meaning as well. Everything is significant, and important, and meaningful. And that just made reading such a chore. There are hints at things and no explanation, which is just a huge tease. Each story seems more like a glimpse into a more full, rounded story that would be more interesting and satisfying, but instead it gets cut short and left hanging.
Maybe the author has a short attention span, or an inability to actually finish a novel, so he threw together all his attempts at starting one and called it a collection of short stories.