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Fifty/Fifty and other stories

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  26 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories is a collection of eleven outstanding short stories by Northern Irish author Matthew W. McFarland.

In 'Fifty/Fifty', a policeman is called out to an attempted suicide on the iconic Forth Rail Bridge. His previous experience with 'jumpers' has led to one death and one life saved - his current record is fifty/fifty, but all that is about to chan
Kindle Edition, Reissued cover
Published September 6th 2012 by Smashwords Edition
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Abby Vandiver
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
50/50 is a collection of short stories that takes place in Ireland, but are very relatable for a reader anywhere in the world.

Matthew W. McFarland is an excellent writer. He has a way with words that shows true talent. His descriptions seemed simple, not a whole lot of words but they are filled with so much meaning. He seems to weave them effortlessly and paints a picture for the reader in the way only a talented writer and good book can.

Several stories were very good, Fifty/Fifty, Wee Tiny Spid
Catherine Verrechia
As expected there were mixed feelings on these short stories. Some gave me inspiration to dig up my old notes and start up my short story writing again, but others, I am sorry to say, left me cold. So forgive me if I don’t manage to review each short story in turn. Saying this, Matthew McFarland should be praised for his hard work and originality and I will endeavour to give a true reflection on how his works make me feel.

The Burning Bar has an altogether amusing ending as it reveals the true pu
Yawatta Hosby
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychological
I enjoyed this book with 11 short stories. It was cool that some of his characters were shy (I can relate). The author has a degree in Psychology, and I can tell that he understands the inner-workings of the mind. Some of the stories had the concept of playing with the character’s head. My favorite type of stories are the ones that forces you to think and reflect; some of these definitely did that for me.

“The Burning Bar”–What is a musician’s greatest love? Joe ran into a building, burning in fl
Philip Newey
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fifty/Fifty is a small collection of short stories ranging from funny, to slightly creepy, to slightly gory. As the author notes in the Afterword, some of these stories are more fictionalised than others, although they are all fictionalised to some extent. The less fictionalised stories read like reminiscences rather than fictional pieces.

As with any collection, some of the stories appealed to me more than others. For me, the most enjoyable story was "Christmas with the kids", a funny tale about
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received a free e-copy of this book from the author through LibraryThings. An honest review was requested.

“Fifty/Fifty, and Other Stories” by Matthew McFarland is a medium length book of short stories penned by the very talented author. The eleven tales in this anthology run the gamut from the humorous to the serious to the bizarre. Right off the bat, the first short story in the book, “The Burning Bar”, sets the tone for the rest of the book. That tale is only 3 Kindle pages long, yet it mana
The following review may contain spoilers and is based on the ebook edition of Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories from a giveaway.

Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories is a quiet contemplative book comprised of 11 separate stories connected by the underlying theme of human psychology. Each story has its own charming manner (though some are notably more interesting than others) and there are a few unexpected twists throughout; "Defenestration," "The Seventeenth Door," and "Fifty/Fifty" are pe
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read with often-luminous prose. The eleven diverse stories are well crafted, original and run the gamut from horrifying to hilarious. McFarland’s facility in getting into the heads of an old man, a young suitor and a marginal female loner is seamless and if his bio hadn’t given me some indication, I wouldn’t know his own age or gender.
The compilation starts with an unexpected ending to The Burning Bar, in which we are given an impish nod to the old adage that things are
Nov 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories by Matthew W. McFarland is a collection of 11 short stories. The plot of each of these ranges from a very short story of a man's love for his trumpet, a man's final thoughts as he plummets to Earth and a policeman trying to convince someone not to jump and everything in between.

The stories themselves range from only around 3 pages to 15 or so. Each one is worth reading, no matter how short. I was pleasantly surprised by this short book. The descriptive writing is fa
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This is so tough for me. 50/50 is kind of how I feel about this book. The first story grabbed me and I said WOW! This is going to be a good read! Then I got to the next story. Very obviously important to the author, but it was not interesting. Not to mention it left me scratching my head. I do not know if it was just me or not. Out of 11 short stories, I found 6 of them very, very good. The others were not bad by any means, more questionable. The author does mention at the end of the book that t ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fifty/Fifty and other Stories by Matthew W. McFarland is a compilation of 11 short stories, all set in the author's home of Ireland. Each story is a stand-alone episode, each with its own ironic twist or dark humor. In the title story "Fifty/Fifty", a policeman is called to talk down a would-be jumper from the Forth Rail Bridge. So far, the officer's record has been fifty/fifty, but no matter the outcome, his record will be changed.

My personal favorite in the collection is "Wee Tiny Spiders". N
Karen Siddall
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Short, but oh so good!

Just read this collection by Belfast author, Matthew W. McFarland which I received in return for an honest review.


Comprised of 11 vastly different short stories, each shared a couple of common bonds; they were clever, entertaining, and smooth, smooth, smooth.

Several of the phrases he used continue to stick with me out of the sheer delight I experienced when reading them – “Fir missile” and “special robot socks which make him go fast” are two in particular. I loved b
Jess Mountifield
This ebook was gifted to me in return for a review.

There are several reflective and thought provoking short stories in this collectionand I have to admit it threw me at first. When I think of good short stories I think of action packed scenes or spine tingling moments. I rarely think of the slow moving ones that make you think. Once I got used to the style, however I found them very enjoyable, all except one, which seemed to be a little out of place in this collection. There was nothing wrong wi
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m a short story fan. They are their own singular art form, as distinct from the novel as they are from haiku. Mathew McFarland’s Fifty/Fifty and Other Stories is a fine collection of eleven little gems, all set in either Ireland or Scotland. Some, like the tale of the man who ran into a burning building, have an O. Henry-like twist. Some read like reflections or slice-of-life, while others—like the tale of a census taker—you hope are purely the figment of the author’s fertile imagination. This ...more
Kath Middleton
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a nice little collection of stories, some of which read like snatches from an autobiography but some cover a scattering of other genres. There are stories which would definitely come into the category of Horror - Wee Tiny Spiders and The Seventeenth Door for example. I really loved The Burning Bar - the first in the book with its unexpected ending - and the title story, Fifty/Fifty was delightful. Some harked back to a youth spent in Northern Ireland's 'Troubles' and some, like Defenestr ...more
Kevin Hammond
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i loved this collection. the writing is clean and crisp and that ability to transfer imagination into print is sold well throughout each story. this is a writer who has an ability to suck you into whatever is going on in his head.
the stories were great too. there really is something in here for everyone and i would say that anyone could read this and love it. there are a full range of moods and atmospheres as each story can be different from the one before it; some sad, some inspiring and some s
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
A nice little collection of 11 short stories ranging from the very short The Burning Bar, which I thought was excellent, I found Wee Tiny Spiders nicely creepy and The Seventeenth Door was very gory indeed; sadly I was reading it whilst eating my lunch! Not recommended. I liked Fifty/Fifty the best with Saints and Streetlights coming a close second, my least favourite being Plastic Golf.

All in all a great collection of stories which I thoroughly enjoyed reading, all of them completely different.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
A quaint collection of 11 short stories. It is a very quick read and i believe worth the effort. Several of the stories are more developed than others but all of them have a good sense of connection to those everyday thoughts and feelings we experience during different times of our lives or events we experience. These stories have a simplicity that is charming. Wee Tiny Spiders has me rethinking the use of fire on those little buggers.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised with this book! Quirky, funny, and sometimes dark, the stories in this book reminded me of stories I enjoyed by Flannery O'Connor. I felt that the author truly enjoyed writing each story, which made it that much more enjoyable for me as the reader. A fun, quick read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a surprise and a smile.
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
50/50 is a collection of short stories , some will bring a chuckle and some will leave you scratching your head in wonder. Each story pulls you in from the beginning and I like that in a book. Its the perfect read if you don't have much time but want to get some reading in. I won this from LibraryThing Member Giveaway and I recommend this book.
Tammy Hall
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
50/50 was terrific book. Matthew McFarland did a fabulous job with his book. Each story was very descriptive and pulled me in I felt as though I was in each story I read. He used the descriptions so creatively and they were in no way over done.
I liked 50/50 very much. I enjoyed each story in the book completely and would really like to read any future writings that Mr. McFarland may do.
Victoria Zigler
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
The writing in these stories is fantastic, and as a result I found this book to be an enjoyable read. My only issue was that a couple of the stories felt more like they should have been scenes from longer stories rather than short stories in their own right; those stories felt incomplete.
Kim Jackson
Oct 15, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is basically a series of first person short stories. Some of the stories are so short that they leave a lot left to the imagination. However, the stories are engaging and entertaining. Not being a short story fan, I gave the book 3 stars.
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Matthew W. McFarland was born in 1983 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After graduating from the University of Dundee with a master's degree in psychology, he took several jobs including delivering mail, producing birth certificates, and working in the heart of the Northern Ireland Government. He currently lives with his young family just outside the city of Belfast
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