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The Crack Magazine

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The Gift by Wayne Connolly

I prefer a short story that doesn’t have a trick in the tail, a point, some final boom-tish (boom-tosh) and wends its way somewhere interesting, delivering an emotional punch without the clunky use of smoke and mirrors. Luckily the clear-eyed and elegant short stories in Wayne Connolly’s The Gift conform to my preferences almost exactly. Lucky me (lucky you too). In Taxis Derma: an arrangement of skin, Les, the taxidermist, brings dead animals seemingly back to life, “Everything that lives is holy. You just have to pay it proper respect”. You have the feeling he can probably do a lot more than that too. The cancer sufferer in the brilliant opening story, The Gift, who thinks how ‘cancer’ seems to have changed so much since he was a boy, changed in every way except in its devastating consequences, “The effort of walking, of carrying on at all, seemed impossible. There was nothing I could do but give in to the need to fall”.  And the ‘lovers’ in Aniela and James: a love story, who play out a strange courtship that leads to a profitable conclusion for one of them, so profitable you suddenly wonder whether the affair was quite so reliably narrated as it seemed. Just three highlights from a book full of them. If you’ve ever wondered why some people prefer short stories to anything longer, here is your answer. The stories in Wayne Connolly’s The Gift are that good.

The Gift – Wayne Connolly – publ. Pontburn Press - £9.00

Steven Long

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