Sarah's Reviews > Shades of Grey

Shades of Grey by Michael Cargill
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's review
Mar 19, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: kindle, kbr
Read on March 18, 2012

Shades of Grey is a collection of three short stories. Each one different, but each with a very dark side to it. The stories all focus on violence and death, but from different angles. Each story is very different to the other, which is a credit to the author; all too often an anthology of short stories can be a bit too ‘samey’ when written by the one author.

The title story, Shades of Grey, was a little too abstract for me. I didn’t really get it, but then perhaps I was looking a little too deeply? It’s well written, but was, for me, the weakest of the three.

There and Back Again is set on the battlefield of world war two, and will be a familiar tale to those who have studied the period. It’s dark and it gave me a feeling of helplessness and a real feeling of the futility of war.

The third story, Down the Rabbit Hole, was my favourite. Other reviewers have commented that it reminded them of Roald Dhal, I see that comparison, although it’s a darker version of the brilliant Roald Dhal. I think there’ll be many different interpretations of this one, but it was, for me, the best written of the three stories, and the most interesting.

The stories are all thought provoking and do raise questions of morality, from the trained killer rationalising his own behaviours, to the looting of the bodies of dead soldiers to the ultimate demise of an abusive husband/father. Cargill does an impressive job of never casting his own judgements, he instead weaves enough into the stories for you to cast your own decision.

Shades of Grey is a well written, dark and different approach to the world of short stories and I’ll be interested to look at Cargill’s other work. These short stories were each so differently written that they could easily have been from different authors so I’ll be looking out for one of Cargill’s novels to see how he’s approached that.

All in all a different, but satisfying, read.
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