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Books Editorial

littlecrackers.jpg Little Crackers
 

Beda Higgins, Saraband, £8.99

This collection of short stories by Newcastle-based author Beda Higgins is sub-headed ‘tales from the edge’ and you’re left in little doubt how close to the edge when the first story in this collection - about a young boy wanting to run away from home who is befriended by a kindly old man - takes the darkest of turns. Elsewhere we find a woman undertaking the Santiago de Compostela walk (a spiritual pilgrimage in Spain) in order to find some meaning in her life, but only finds death; some school bullies making fun out of a classmate who needs to wear a wig; and “The Leopard” - actually a man who has done something truly despicable in his past but is now endangering others because he’s going to do it again… I would say that all human life is here, but hopefully not, because these twisted tales beat with a heart of stone; and despite each of them being only five, six or seven pages in length, Higgins has managed to create little godless universes that sting like a paper cut. Bravo!