“One of the best anthologies of the year so far” -OFFICIAL !

Posted: November 16, 2012 by douglasthompson in Uncategorized

Also in this month’s edition of Black Static Magazine, Peter Tennant has given top marks to Eibonvale’s anthology of journey stories “Where Are We Going?” edited by Allen Ashley, calling it one of the very best of 2012. But in posting about his review, we of course face the same challenge as he had himself: which stories to mention and which to pass over due to shortage of space? “Embarassment of riches” is the phrase that springs to mind, but never one to shirk a challenge, here is a stab at passing on some of Pete’s enthusiasm:

“Opening the batting is Gary Budgen with ‘Dead Countries’, a story that put me very much in mind of the work of Alasdair Gray, with its protagonist whose life goes into decline while his childhood friend is enervated by thoughts of Quassia, a country whose stamps he collected. The crux of the story appears to be in how one finds escape through imagination and obsession, while the other’s dalliance with drugs leads him into a blind alley. Each plays games with the nature of reality, but only in the case of the former is the mind expanded with endless possibilities opening up…

There’s a wonderful sense of the almost whimsical about Ian Shoebridge’s ‘A Guide to Surviving Malabar’, an island holiday destination where the very landscape changes constantly with a view to taking the life of the hapless tourist, underlining the message that there is no way out except death, with even those who survive drawn irresistibly back. Malabar is perhaps intended as a metaphor for the human condition itself, but the appeal of the story resides in the humour and casual invention that informs it…

Alison Littlewood’s ‘The Discord of Being’ takes Emma to Morocco to discover the fate of her mother’s grave and make her own peace with her estranged father, but there are strange events going on in the background of the story. Beautifully written and with a real feel for the foreign setting, so that sights and sounds and smells come vividly alive on the page, this is a sensitive tale of loss and reconciliation, of learning to let go of the things we can no longer control or need…

Ralph Robert Moore’s ‘Our Island’ is the story that impressed me most, a simple and heartfelt rite of passage piece, as two children who believe they live in an island paradise, learn the truth of their world and how it came to be. The power of the story lies in its sense of creeping realisation, as the innocents come to see how their whole existence, everything that they take for granted in their lives, hangs by a thread, while the spare, economic prose renders this discovery all the more painful…”

As ever, our thanks to Pete for taking the time for such in-depth analyis of so many of the stories.

  1. debs says:

    Congratulations to all the authors, and to Allen for putting together a fine anthology.

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