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The Rental Heart and Other Stories by Kirsty Logan - Review

Monday, October 2, 2017

I'm just going to write a short/quick review of this book, not in my usual style because I don't feel like it fits into my book questions! I read this book for my online book club, started and run by Jenny, which meets every other month on Skype text chat to discuss a book (on the off months we've started discussing films!). October's theme was short stories, so we suggested a few at the meeting in August and voted on them in the Facebook group. I was excited to read this as I follow Kirsty on Twitter and have her novel The Gracekeepers although I haven't read it yet.

(Having not read books I own is the story of my life, isn't it? Lee and I recently went through all my books because we bought new shelving, and we put them all into a spreadsheet. I have over 700 physical books; I've read only around 1/3 of them.)

I also went to a workshop run by Kirsty at Grrrl Con in 2016, a workshop on inserting magic into your writing. So I was expecting there to be plenty of magic in these stories and I wasn't disappointed! There are twenty stories in total, and they were all good. Several stick out to me as being excellent - the one about the coin operated boy, the one about the couple moving to the Outback, the one about the lady taking girls into her castle to work for her and have sex with her, the one about the teenage boy whose sister has died, the one about the couple living in the caravan. Some of the stories are retellings of fairy tales, others are entirely new fairy tales. There's an element of steam punk to a lot of them, and an apocalyptic vibe to quite a few. There are a couple which talk of the loss of babies, which are really sad but beautifully done. A lot of the stories have queer protagonists which I really liked. Kirsty has a real talent at imagery and at twisting words in a certain way to set a scene.

This is an excellent anthology of stories and I want everyone I know to read it! I can't wait to discuss it with my fellow book club members in a couple of weeks. I always think that the hallmark of a good short story is that you want to know more - the few thousand words just aren't enough and leave you gasping for more. I definitely felt that here, there were several stories where I would have liked a whole novel about these characters! It takes a lot of talent to write short stories like this and Kirsty definitely has it.

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