by Beatrice C. Snipp
Sands of Time is a collection of eight short stories and three short poems that ponder on the human condition with a dash of the supernatural thrown into a couple for good measure.
Smell of Death is written by a thirty-two-year-old and references an experience he had as an eight-year old. The writing is quite naïve which works well to underline the premise of the story which is actually rather creepy. Unwanted Soldier was thought-provoking and I enjoyed My Trousers which veered off into Walter Mitty territory although I think the resolution/conclusion could have been sharper. Food, Glorious, Food was an apt commentary on the obesity issue although it could have been fleshed out more (pardon the pun); it was a bit too abrupt. Xenolith was amusing as we’ve all come across the sort of person it describes. Death So Near but So Far was one of the strongest elements with a poignant ending. The Moving Picture was the best, it had the hallmarks of a horror mystery which were enhanced by the mundane details such as the referrals to ‘my first pot of tea’. I thought it was highly imaginative too. Enrique’s Glasses was quite bizarre and highlighted the theme that is common to the majority of the collection: Death, especially unexplained or sudden death. All of the stories, aside from two, are concerned with the end of life. However, this is not to say the collection is depressing, far from it. There a distinct seam of humour that runs through all the stories and the poems are a nice inclusion, especially Darkness which has some lovely imagery. It is clear that Ms Snipp has fun writing these stories and there are some interesting and thoughtful ideas.
Personally, I found the narrative voice too similar. Although the stories are written from first person perspective (male and female) and also third person, the same tone is present throughout and it would have given the tales more depth and dimension had this been varied. The writing, at times, is a touch simplistic but as mentioned above, this does work in favour of some of the themes present. I did also feel that a few of the stories were slightly under-developed but taken as meditative musings, they work well.
An endearing, unusual and curious little collection.