Saturday 2 March 2019
MATH BIRD - HISTORIES OF THE DEAD AND OTHER STORIES (2016)
In this striking collection of noir short stories Welsh writer Math Bird gives us tales of the haunted and the lost.
Set in the borderlands of northeast Wales, among a landscape of forests and hills, small coastal towns, and the Dee estuary, these are the stories of lonely boys and grief stricken men, ill-fated lovers, tough women, distant fathers and disillusioned sons. Many of them hell-bent on revenge, battling with both the present and the past.
Bird writes about men and women and the social and geographical borders they cross. Throughout these tales runs the influence of place, and how the land and its ghosts can redeem us.
Seven short stories here from Math Bird and a cracking collection which I really enjoyed.
Histories of the Dead..... dark deeds, secrets, guilt, obligation, a corrupting influence, action
All the Hungry Ghosts...... a life full of regrets, marital abuse, an ageing gangster, an intervention, a death of a rival's relative, a consequence, no happy endings.
This Land of the Strange..... a love affair with the right (wrong) woman - wrong in the eyes of her husband, right in the feelings they share for each other, a punishment, a return home, a manhunt, pursuit and death,
The Darkness and the Light....... an eye for an eye, the runt of the litter sacrificed
The Devilfish..... an old woman, full of memories and spirit and dementia, a daughter and her husband, a boat trip
Your Father's Son...... a debt to be collected, someone ends up paying
Billy Star..... friction in the family, a feckless uncle with charisma, a chip on his shoulder, a big stock of blarney and a penchant for annoying people
Small town dramas, ageing villains, disaffected youth, bullies, cowards, unhappy marriages, secrets, regrets, death, drama, thwarted ambition, mistakes, and a lot more besides including a touch of the supernatural.
Favourite of the bunch - Histories of the Dead, followed by The Darkness and the Light. Nothing I didn't enjoy in the seven.
I'm looking forward to tucking in to Bird's Welcome to Holyhell sometime soon.
4.5 from 5
Read in February, 2019
Published - 2016
Page count - 138
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback