Friday 29 January 2016

Used to Be, by Elizabeth Baines

ReviewerJJ Marsh

What we thought:

An unusual and eclectic collection of stories which consistently upend and wrongfoot the reader’s expectations. And I mean that in a good way.

Baines reminds me of a scratch DJ, taking a conventional format and messing with it, expertly, to give the audience a whole new experience.

These twelve tales skip between perspectives, employ fallible narrators, follow parallel universes and ask exactly how much of any story is true. Reality is whatever is happening in this particular head, yours and the storytellers’, at the time. Much as the past erodes the distance, hardens the edges and wears grooves of memory and habit, you want to believe, even if you’re not quite sure any of it is true.

Highly readable, thought-provoking and with beautiful use of language, this collection is a rich and unexpected delight.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: Kirsty Logan, Wally Lamb, DJ Taylor

Avoid if you don’t like:
Quirky, unsettling shifts in expectation

Ideal accompaniments: Salted caramels, a Dirty Martini and Lotte Lenya singing Kurt Weill

Genre: Short stories, Literary Fiction

Available on Amazon 

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