Short story collections can be difficult to review, particularly when – as in the case of Lynda Clark’s Dreaming in Quantum – the stories vary greatly in style, genre or tone. However, that said, these stories, whether they stray into the territories of science fiction, fantasy or folklore, are linked by a darkness and sense of humour which gives the collection a sharpness and style that would appeal to the fan of slipstream or literary fiction with a speculative twist.
Stand-out stories for me are ‘Ghillie’s Mum’ (which was shortlisted for the 2019 BBC National Short Story Award), ‘Sídhe Wood’ and ‘Dreaming in Quantum.’ ‘Ghillie’s Mum’ paints a vivid and poignant story of a parent-child relationship that’s very relatable – I think every child of a certain age thinks their mum is weird and embarrassing, but in Ghillie’s case his mum really is very different from the other mums. ‘Sídhe Wood’ explores new motherhood in a deliciously dark and humorous manner, and ‘Dreaming in Quantum,’ in which Clark casts an insightful eye into the workings of academia, is a thrilling murder mystery. I can see this short story growing into a whole novel – there’s so much scope for exploring the concept of alternate dream worlds.
What I particularly like about Dreaming in Quantum is the way Clark gives such realism and depth to relationships – especially the bonds between siblings and friends. This is a stylish collection, full of warmth, wit and quirkiness; some of Clark’s stories put me in mind of Angela Readman’s writing (of which I’m a great fan). Clark is clearly skilled in the art of delivering high-quality prose, yet she never forgets the importance of story and how to satisfy the reader. She’s definitely a writer to watch.
Post a Comment