zine, [zeen] noun. 1. abbr. of fanzine; 2. any amateurly-published periodical. Oxford Reference


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Terrible Stories from Kelly McClure

A5, 28 pages (cream and navy).

What qualifies as terrible? Quite a lot of things, I should imagine. The lack of politics taught in Britain’s schools? The internalised gender divide? My colleagues’ insistence on discussing nothing but Love Island for the past two weeks? All are different flavours of terrible.

Kelly McClure’s stories certainly aren’t terrible, which led me to the conclusion that she must be the sort of person whose modesty is so extreme that she would actually take the naming of her anthology as a weird opportunity for self-deprecation. Slightly bemused, I began to read, and then I got it – perhaps it wasn’t the stories that were terrible, but the characters.

A sadistic rancher, an imperfect mother, an extreme introvert. In truth the characters’ personalities are scattered all over the morality spectrum, and it’s difficult to judge whether each of them are good, bad or other.

One of the interesting qualities to McClure’s writing is that her stories feel more like scenes, the reader is placed into the characters’ lives and just as they begin to feel like they know them, they’re whisked into the next story. This anthology seems to be less about providing the reader with entertaining stories, and more about creating a feeling of kinship with the characters (whether that be positive or negative). It’s an interesting read and skilfully written – these six stories will play on your mind for a long, long time.

You can get a copy of Terrible Stories from Kelly McClure via Budget Press here.

Review by J.L. Corbett

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