by Daniel Abrahams
Books, Bits & Bobs is ostensibly a collection of sixteen short stories. However, the compilation plays with traditional form and short structure with some narratives barely more than a paragraph; others more traditional and one that touches on novella length.
I thought Books, Bits & Bobs was a candid and impressive collection of short musings and tales that makes the reader’s brain work and wonder. In the foreword, Mr Abrahams explains that he intended to leave his writing open-ended and slightly unpolished to enable the reader to exercise imagination. Good writing should actively involve the reader and this book certainly provokes ongoing thought. You are left speculating and pondering because many of the shorts could have several different meanings and consequent outcomes.
From the very brief pieces, I thought Window and The Idea were the strongest. They tap into emotions and experiences that most people have known to a greater or lesser extent. So, not only on one level is the writing intriguing it also provides another level of relatable subjectivity. This empathy also occurs with the slightly longer Danciness and Dad. Both very poignant and identifiable in their own way. Your Song was just a good short story turning the reader’s initial impression rapidly on its head without any compassion. Pursuit of Happiness was original, charming and quite touching. Life made me smile and nod and Conversation Piece made me laugh out loud; I think there is a longer story there. Barista and Skylar were the weakest for me and, from a purely logistical angle, I think I would have ordered the stories slightly differently. The Noise; the last and longest I would have placed at either the beginning or the middle. It’s a curiously fascinating piece of writing that really makes your imagination tick. The initial concept reminded me of H G Wells but then I was left wondering whether the narrator was entirely reliable, because there were some interesting ambiguities in the narrative. It grows into an ominous piece which also draws unsettling parallels with the current Covid situation giving the narrative a dose of realism despite the apocalyptic ending.
All of the writing in this book has a nice easy rhythm although sometimes there is a nervousness to the prose, an occasional lack of self-confidence in ability that is misplaced and resultingly endearing.
Books, Bits & Bobs is a thoughtfully written collection that engages the reader exactly as the Author intended. Highly recommended. Buy from: