Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Review by Jon Wilkins of "Midnight Laughter" by Paul McDonald



Midnight Laughter: an interesting title, not in this collection of seventeen stories, of flash and short fiction. As I read through the stories I recorded my one word response as I finished the last word:

Strange
Nasty
Why
Weird
Odd
Spiteful
Kismet
Schadenfreude
Superwoman
Fries
Sick
Oddity
Lecturers
Comics
Cruising
Madge
Death

So we now have a poem that we can call Midnight Laughter

Why would a man shrink until he is the size of a dot and then be swallowed by his wife? Isn’t it spiteful to get a mouse to chew through the heel of a loud woman so as to humiliate her, and then to feel so guilty you wake up and vomit at causing her shame? A man with a mistress has a heart attack as he lies next to the wife that he loves. Does this serve him right? Or is it perfect irony as it is the mistress who is the hypochondriac? There's a smiling peaceful bus passenger who resolves to hurt an old woman who dared to question his morals: she was proved right in the end, but at what a cost? Every story leaves the reader asking a question and then re-reading. How? Why? What the devil?

This is the perfect collection for someone who wants to read and think, to get something out of the time they put in to reading: weird and wonderful, seductive and strange. This collection makes you question, makes you think, makes you ask, “What mysterious place did McDonald get these ideas from?”


About the reviewer
Jon Wilkins is sixty-three. He has a gorgeous wife Annie and two beautiful sons, and loves to write. He is a retired teacher, lapsed Waterstones’ bookseller and former Basketball Coach. He taught PE and English for twenty years and coached women’s basketball for over thirty years.  He has always loved books and reading.

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