Where do I start with attempting to convey what an amazing collection of short stories this is? I hadn’t previously read any of Kathe’s writing but I now feel that I want to devour her backlist … as well as to keep an eye out for any future stories from her!
Different as each of theses stories is, the consistent thread which links them is the author’s eloquent and elegant prose. I loved the myriad ways in which she used language to create a variably-paced rhythmic cadence to her narrative, something which made reading feel like a seamless pleasure rather than something I needed to work hard at. I enjoyed the fact that the stories covered a wide range of genres and that there was such an unpredictable quality to each of them. Although some appealed more than others, inevitable I think with any short-story collection, each of them felt idiosyncratically imaginative, unsettling, thought-provoking and memorable.
As there had been a gap of three weeks between when I first read them and when I could find time to write this review, I decided to re-read them. I was delighted to find that not only did they feel just as fresh, meaning that I was able to re-experience their powerful impact, but that I also found myself discovering new layers of meaning within each of them. I really enjoyed the fact that the author was prepared to explore some very dark themes and to unnerve her readers by taking her stories in totally unexpected, sometimes bizarre, directions whilst at the same time managing to make each one psychologically credible … quite a literary feat!
If I attempted to comment on each of the stories not only would that result in a very long review, but it would run a real risk of introducing spoilers. However, although each was memorable in its own way, there were four which really stood out for me – The Marble Lily, La Reine D’Enfer, Far and Wee and Velocity. I wonder what your favourites would be … I urge you to read this wonderful collection and find out!
With huge thanks to Tricia Reeks at Meerkat Press for sending me this ARC … yet another gem from this wonderful indie publisher!
Linda Hepworth 5/4*
Velocities by Kathe Koja
978-1-946154-23-4 Meerkat Press Paperback April 2020