Wow and thrice wow!
Words from a Glass Bubble has been selected for the pick of the short story reviews, on MSLEXIA'S WEBSITE
the feature is headed:
In each issue of the magazine reviewers assess books across selected genres. These are the ones they liked best.
Extraordinary, and lovely.
Thank you Frances Clarke and thank you Mslexia.
reviewed by Francis Clarke
Words From a Glass Bubble by Vanessa Gebbie (Salt, £12.99)
There is a wide range and variety in the 19 stories in Gebbie’s Glass Bubble. In the poetic ‘The Kettle on the Boat,’ we see events from the viewpoint of an Inuit child and a fragile world is brought to life; a poignant finality is deftly captured in the image of a kettle sinking in the sea. ‘I can Squash The King, Tommo,’ with its Dylan Thomas echoes, has a blithe and energetic narrative drive, and the emotional weight of it is carefully kept in balance with the thread of each character’s revelations so that the climax is genuinely moving. Characters teem throughout the collection, and Vanessa Gebbie boldly takes on different voices, from a teenage boy in care to a boy with a junkie mate. The stories themselves are riveting, but phrases like ‘Billy…always looked wise but hurting like Jesus being nailed to the cross…’ occasionally keep characters at arms length rather than bringing them to life. All of these stories bar one have won or been placed in major competitions and the humour in some of them is especially enjoyable. In the title story, for example, a plastic Virgin Mary is taken out for a drive, ‘...her face like a small boy’s pet mouse in a blue hood,’ and Serbian Vera is a character in the otherwise sad ‘Irrigation’ who is simultaneously tragic and hilarious to great effect.