Jack Messenger

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Jack Messenger’s Four American Tales is available free: follow the linkFour American Tales is available free as an ebook: follow the link.

Nadine stole a white Plymouth Roadrunner early Friday evening. She took it from an airport parking lot, which bought her the weekend before it was missed – a couple of weeks if she was lucky. Earle had shown her how and when to take an automobile. ‘Stay calm and act natural. Once they’re on the plane, there’s nothing they can do. You’re the new owner. Remember that.’

‘A Hundred Ways to Live’, Four American Tales

An Interview with Ryan Masters

Ryan Masters is a writer and poet from Santa Cruz, CA. He spent a decade on staff at the Santa Cruz Sentinel and The Monterey County Weekly. He is a frequent contributor to The Surfer’s Journal and former poet-in-residence for the City of Pacific Grove, CA. The author of a chapbook, below the low-water mark, his work has also appeared in publications such as The Iowa Review, Catamaran Literary Reader and Unlikely Stories. Above an Abyss: Two Novellas (Radial Books, 2018) is his first collection of fiction. It was reviewed here.

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An Incomplete List of My Wishes | Jendi Reiter | Review

An Incomplete List of My Wishes by Jendi Reiter, reviewed by Jack Messenger: These eleven wonderful #shortstories have already won prizes of various sorts. This new compilation deserves a prize of its own. Fine writing transcends generic boundaries. Should we call An Incomplete List of My Wishes, Jendi Reiter’s outstanding collection of short stories, Southern fiction? Possibly, but only as long as we permit a Southern sensibility (however defined) to extend as far north as New York and Connecticut. Is it LGBTQ? Assuredly, yet the breadth of human response the book elicits encompasses far more than specific issues of sexual/gender identification. Is it historical? In part, but the 1990s reside still in many living memories and can comfortably coexist with the present. May we even call these prizewinning works short stories? Only if we allow that a short story need not necessarily tell a story, or that it can tell many stories all at once.

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Jack Messenger’s Four English Tales ebook is available free: follow the linkFour English Tales is available free as an ebook: follow the link.

Four Engish Tales is a slim volume of evocative and ghostly short stories written to send a tiny shiver down your spine. Long Distance is about a marriage regretted; Dead Letter is a deepening nightmare; After the Trouble Came looks at the end days; The Appointment concerns a chance encounter with an injured man. Life can be very strange, as you will discover.

Four English Tales

Far Away and Further Back | Patrick Burns | Review

Far Away and Further Back, a memoir by Patrick Burns, is a light, easy read, and an interesting one.‘In these stories from four decades of living and working around the world, corporate nomad Patrick Burns recounts some of his most memorable experiences: from dangerous pyrotechnic liaisons in the Algerian desert to a quest to find the Archbishop of Rangoon after a chance meeting in an English village church. This exploration of the personal landscape of expatriate life is interwoven with a navigation of some of the ties that have bound his unusual Anglo-German family during the past century; a mixture of hardcore Yorkshire eccentricity (including a grandfather whose obsession with installing indoor toilets inadvertently led to a twenty-five year family rift) and a liberal academic, Hanoverian heritage disoriented by Hitler, the events of 1939–1945 and the Cold War.’

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I have been solving (I hope) some technical difficulties with this website I did not even know existed until a few days ago. Most of them were to do with subscription pages. If you do not wish to receive emailed post alerts, feel free to unsubscribe. I shan’t be offended. But have the grace to allow me to weep.

Above an Abyss: Two Novellas | Ryan Masters | Review

Above an Abyss surely establishes Ryan Masters as a great practitioner of the novella, one of the most difficult and ambiguous of literary forms. Read Above an Abyss and be touched by a quiet moment of grace.

The epigraph to Above An Abyss, Ryan Masters’ marvellous collection of two beautiful and stunningly juxtaposed novellas, is from Nabokov’s Speak, Memory: ‘The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.’ ‘Trampoline Games’ and ‘The Moth Orchid’ approach this idea of existential precarity from entirely different directions, yet the two stories complement one another in breathtaking, unexpected ways.

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