Melissa's Reviews > Ox-Tales: Water

Ox-Tales by Mark Ellingham
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's review
Apr 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, library-book, short-stories, paperback
Read from March 18 to April 17, 2011 , read count: 1

I wasn't overly enamoured by this collection. For me, there were only two real stand-outs: Hari Kunzru's "Kaltes klares Wasser", about the ferryman of the dead, and Zoë Heller's "What She Did On Her Summer Vacation", a coming-of-age tale about a 14-year-old American girl abroad. Both powerful in their own way, and though I hadn't read anything by either author before, I definitely would in future. Their contributions happened to be amongst the very few that were actually real short stories, as opposed to extracts from novels, which is my chief annoyance with Water.

The introduction explains that not all of the authors contacted actually write shorts, and so contributed what they could. Fine, but it meant that very few of the stories felt like self contained units, more teasers and advertising for longer works. The only two I'd even consider buying the full versions of are Michel Faber's "Walking After Midnight", about a missionary in a far-distant land (though Google frustratingly gives no indication of when the novel it's taken from, The Book of Strange New Things is due for publication), and possibly Michael Morpurgo's "Look At Me, I Need a Smile", though I can't stand his other works and the premise seems as exploitative as it does intriguing. (A boy mourning the death of his father is taken on holiday to Indonesia, goes on an elephant ride on the beach, when oh, the 2004 tsunami hits and the elephant whisks him off into the jungle. Actually, no, all things considered I'm really not going to read it.)

A bit of a dud, then, but it did introduce me to at least two authors I'd be happy to read in future.

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Reading Progress

04/14/2011 page 142
68.27% "Favourites so far: Crossing the River, and What She Did on Her Summer Vacation. Not particularly impressed by the number of authors who just contributed a bit of a WIP."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Hari Kunzru wrote the one about Future Shock and giving people nicknames...his was, surprisingly to me, my least favorite in the book. The ferryman story was written by David Park, and you're right, it's great.

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