Monday, 30 June 2014

Book Review: Captives by Angela Meyer (AKA Literary Minded)

Captives
Angela Meyer
Inkerman and Blunt, 2014
9780987540126

Flash fiction might be a foreign term to many of you.  It's a relatively new term in the mainstream literary world, a genre of short fiction which describes bite-sized morsels of story, moments and thoughts that encapsulate an emotion, an interaction, the calm before disaster strikes.  It is also notoriously hard to publish.

But Angela Meyer won't be unknown to you.  For a number of years now, she's been queen of the Australian Book Blogging scene, running her own website known as Literary Minded.  She's judged the AWC Best Bloggers competition Book Blogging segment.  She's written book reviews for The Australian and Crikey.  And these are just the things that I can remember about her without googling her.  I guess you could say that Angela Meyer is one of my heroes.

Last month, Meyer launched her debut book, a collection of Flash Fiction called Captives.  Its tag line says it all:  "Bad things happen.  Or they could.  At any moment."  This tiny book covers a vast landscape of the literary mind at work, spanning through historical fiction, speculative fiction, crime and relationship dramas and many more.  Stand-outs include 'Thirteen Tiles' (in which a man contemplates his imminent death after her becomes locked in the toilet), 'One of the Crew' (in which an outsider infiltrates the green room at a writer's festival), 'Foreign Bodies' (in which a prison inmate systematically swallows large objects) and 'Nineteen' (which is a beautiful piece about growing up.)

It's hard to review this book because it's hard to pin down, but suffice to say that this was a wonderful thing to carry around in my bag, and pull out to read on my lunch break or before dinner.  My enthusiasm for Meyer's reviews aside, this collection displays great skill.  It is a showcase of the kinds of fiction, films and relationships which have had an influence on both author and potential readers.  It is a marvel.

I gave it four stars.

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