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Sawn-Off Tales

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
David Gaffney's compact, surreal tales are filled with poignancy and wit. Each story goes off like a tiny depth charge in the mind, leaving you with the trace memory of some new urban myth - comic, absurd and disturbingly true.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Salt Publishing (first published January 1st 2006)
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Mar 29, 2011 Laurabean rated it really liked it
Sawn Off Tales appear to be short stories which offer a form of snapshot. However as the title of the collection suggests, rather than giving the reader a posed and contrived instance, they are violently abbreviated and unexpectedly truncated. The real treat with Sawn Off Tales is that whilst this is the case, each tale does have a feeling of completeness, even if it is merely the recounting of an impulse, an emotion or the most wistful of memories.

While the highly abbreviated nature of the col
Oleg Shevelyov
Nov 07, 2014 Oleg Shevelyov rated it liked it
The book started off very well, I was actually amazed at how skillful the author was to make work those ultra-short stories. I was very inspired also and was eager even to try myself in flash fiction genre. However the more stories from the book I read, the less enthusiastically I became.

Closer to the end I couldn't wait but finish the book as soon as possible. I really liked only a few stories, some were curious, most didn't make me feel anything at all. I admit that probably I didn't understa
Sep 07, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
Gaffney shows he is a master of the flash fiction form with this wonderful collection. I bought this book a couple of years ago and picked it up last night on Day 2 of caffeine withdrawal because I couldn't concentrate on a novel. These are humorous stories contemporary British life and people's idiosyncrasies so perceptive about that they consistently make you feel uncomfortable. I love how he waltzers idioms into preposterous tales that are, at the same time, recognisable. A perfect book to re ...more
Jul 06, 2013 Deaddad rated it really liked it
I read these 58 short short stories (most only a page and a bit in length) in four sittings. I thought the novelty of the form might wear thin or the stories would blur into each other. But they remained distinct, imaginatively engaging and unpacking (or semi-unpacking) a greater depth of story than their meagre length might suggest. I read a review that said this was a hit and miss collection. I saw them mainly as hits - poignant, wry or surreal - but with a few that really packed a punch. I th ...more
russell barnes
Hmmm, a bit of a curate's egg this one. If you like John Hegley you'll notice a lot of similarities: They feel like poems in length and rhythm, and deal in the minutae of everyday life in a wry and whimsical way. Sometimes it worked really well, like snatches of half-heard drunken conversations in the pub, but most were like half-heard boring conversations in the Post Office.
A nice little collection of short shorts - great to dip into when you've only got a minute or two of reading time available. At times it felt like there was a formula that Gaffney was working with. It became possible at times to predict the tone of the pieces. But there were enough that shook the mix up. At times funny, often odd, occasionally truly touching.
Jul 24, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite being such short delightfully absurd little koan-like stories, I found I really needed to spend a lot of time with each one. There was so much going on in such a little space that if I didn't slow down and turn them over in my mind a bit I missed things. They seemed almost like poems in that regard. Gaffney is amazing on how he packs so much in so little. I am definitely impressed.
Jan 07, 2013 Maggie rated it it was amazing
Quirky, bizarre and very clever.
Santino Prinzi
Mar 25, 2014 Santino Prinzi rated it it was amazing
These flash fictions are simply wonderful. Stop reading this review and start reading this book.
Stephen Shieber
Jan 04, 2011 Stephen Shieber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great set of short shorts with plenty of wit and a dash of the surreal.
Jan 21, 2008 Alan rated it really liked it
Lively, funny tales from a British writer. Short and mostly sweet, sometimes a bit weird. Should be 4 stars but can't get it to save 4 stars!
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