6 Oct 2013

Another Galley Beggar Single: Almost Blue, by Tony O'Neill

Almost Blue by Tony O'Neill will punch you hard and slap you in the face. The third Galley Beggar Book Single on my list, it's by far the most upsetting until now. Not at all because something dreadful happens, though there is enough potential for this, what with all characters fast on the track towards an overdose. It's more to do with the self-made hamster cages all characters find themselves in but are unable and/or unwilling to leave. It's truly a story of dead ends, and that's the awful bit. The truly awful bit. And that's all I'm going to say about the content. For 1 GBP, Almost Blue is good value - I for once won't forget this one for quite some time to come. So go ahead and read for yourself; here's the link: http://www.galleybeggar.co.uk/book-store/ebook/almost-blue/

I think after having read and attempted to talk about a couple of book singles that all happened to be from the same publisher, it might be a good idea to take stock. Or perhaps it isn't. Anyway, time's running out for my blogpost this week and I don't want to run up any Iron Buchblogger debts. Can't afford it, mind.

So, these singles on the short end of the spectrum brought me back to the short story. Not that I was very far away from them before, what with my students unearthing new ones every summer term, but I hadn't read too many of them fresh from the publishers, rather slightly older stuff, or simply, the stuff that tends to get washed up at universities some decades after their first publication. And some things that I like about the short story popped back into my consciousness again; the limited perspective of the narration, the sketchiness of the characters who don't need a back story or anything to make their stories interesting or plausible. They're stories that are sort of 'natural' stories; for me, they are like meeting someone in a bar who - perhaps slightly drunkenly - tells you a story, something they've experienced and want to share for one reason or another. And as with strangers in a pub, I think there's a similar momentary  intimacy that retreats within minutes after having read the last sentence - no, I don't want to know more about those people and what happened to them afterwards; I'm content and intrigued with what I heard, that's that and that is good.

Tech stuff: After having been not really convinced of reading the files in PDF format, I finally managed to read Almost Blue on my kindle app for Android (yay!). Unfortunately you need to trick the app into believing that you bought it via the kindle shop, which is not as intuitive as it should be. Anyway, once you've found the folder where the app stores its ebooks and you've copied your brand new single into this bespoke folder, it works perfectly (took me only ten days to figure this out - of course the idea came in the middle of the night - so if you ever experience similar troubles and my solution turns out to work for you too, think of me and offer me a highly paid position right away - you won't regret it).

Book Single information:
Almost Blue, by Tony O'Neill. Published by Galley Beggar Press, 2013. GBP 1.

Next week I'll try out singles by another publisher. In fact, they only just launched last week, so this stuff would be hot off the presses if there was such a thing any longer. Watch this space!

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