Story Review: Danny Boy by Marian Matta, Spineless Wonders Publishing

This second story in the Amanda Lohrey Selects series is a gem.

Marian Matta builds an aching suspense crafted carefully around a core of empathy and slowly reveals, with immaculate precision, the truth that is not so deeply hidden after all. Beginning with what might strike the reader as garden variety painful shyness, Matta slowly draws the reader into Danny’s unusual – but somehow completely relatable – world. When the secret is revealed it makes perfect sense and you can’t imagine Danny’s life any other way. This is Matta’s great gift to her readers – she creates characters so honest and interesting that the reader is willing to follow them anywhere. That Matta chooses to take her characters on a path less trodden – and treats them with a deep, steadfast kindness – is why her storytelling is so exceptional and successful.

Danny Boy is a stunning story; rich, complex, beautiful and rewarding.

I would recommend it to all short story lovers as well as anyone interested in seeing gender and sexuality represented beyond the simplistic dichotomy fed to us in the mainstream media.

You can buy Danny Boy (for a measly 99 cents), or the whole Amanda Lohrey Selects series here.


Story Review: Ite Missa Est (Go, You Are Sent Forth), by Felicity Volk, Spineless Wonders Publishing

Long stories cover ebook pdf

When you are told you only have a few months to live, it doesn’t really matter what age you are, self-reflection becomes an imperative. In Go You Are Sent Forth, Berenice, a retired nun, is in exactly this position and she reflects on a life of sacrifice and stoicism. She decides to live her last months differently and sets out to experience some of those things she’s long denied herself.

Felicity Volk treats this emotionally complex subject matter with delicacy and bravery. Her characters are vividly drawn, as are their surroundings. We understand Berenice’s journey as much as we understand her friend Mary’s lack of understanding. Go, You Are Sent Forth is a beautiful story told with compassion and understanding by a skilled writer.

Go, You Are Sent Forth is one in a series of 12 longish short stories in the Amanda Lohrey Selects series. Each story sells for a measly 99 cents (or you can buy the whole bundle for ten bucks). At first I have to admit that even a digital advocate like me set out reading this story wishing it was on paper. If I had a printer, I think I would have printed it. My screen is large and overwhelming to read text on at times, and of course the screen feels like work, not pleasure. I wanted to hold a slim volume in my hands and settle back on the couch. But what I found was that this length of story actually worked surprisingly well in ebook format. The story is long enough that you feel you’ve really been taken into another world, but not so long that reading it on the screen felt arduous. If you are thinking about ebooks but not sure it’s your cup of tea, I’d suggest starting with Go, You Are Sent Forth – for a 99 cent investment you can get a taste of the medium without much commitment in time or money.

Who would I recommend this to? Lovers of short story and anyone wanting to dip their toe into ereading.

Click here to buy Go, You Are Sent Forth, or the whole series.