The true university these days is a collection of books.
-Thomas Carlyle

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Ox-Tales: Water by various authors

I bought this one at the bookshop in St Pancras Station, London, last year, just because I liked the look of it. One of four titles, Oxfam compiled these books based around the elements to raise money and also awareness - WATER for water projects, FIRE for conflict areas, EARTH for agricultural development and AIR for climate change. The writers donated their stories for free and for some reason I was drawn to the Water volume (number IV) although all of them looked interesting, and together they looked good on the shelf.
It didn't take long to read and as with all short story collections, some of the tales registered more than others. There are some highly acclaimed writers in each book.
The stories that stood out in this volume were...
Crossing the River by David Park - a different take on ferrying the dead across the river to the afterlife.
What she did on her Summer Vacation by Zoe Heller, an interesting tale of a young girls encounter with another couple on a beach.
The Piano Man by Joanna Trollope, how a family deals with the sudden death of their husband and father.
Look at Me, I Need a Smile by Michael Morpurgo, about an elephant ride on a beach to heal the past.
This was a stronger collection of short stories than the last few I have read. The Joanna Trollope I really enjoyed, but generally they were all pretty good, and most have some link to water, in one way or another. Not a bad read.
To find out about this title and the others in the Ox-Tales collection use the link.
I read this to complete #5 of my personal challenges, to read a short story collection.


Annie said...

I prefer short story collections that are by a variety of writers rather than those by a single author. I find the latter can too often ring the same note all the way through. this sounds interesting. I shall have to go into my local Oxfam bookshop and see if they have any copies.

Leah said...

Hi Annie, I love short stories but they can be hit and miss. I think the last ones I really enjoyed were Moments of Reprieve by Primo Levi and Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer. Both same author stories. I agree it is good to get a variety too.

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