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A Portable Shelter

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  746 ratings  ·  165 reviews
In their tiny, sea-beaten cottage on the north coast of Scotland, Liska and Ruth await the birth of their first child. They spend their time telling stories to the unborn baby, trying to pass on the lessons they've learned: tales of circuses and stargazing, selkie fishermen and domestic werewolves, child-eating witches and broken-toothed dragons. But each must keep their ...more
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published August 10th 2015 by Association for Scottish Literary Studies
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  746 ratings  ·  165 reviews


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Jen Campbell
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I didn't think I'd be saying this but I loved this more than The Gracekeepers. Damn. She just keeps getting better and better.
Joey Woolfardis
This short story collection is a bit like a novel in disguise: the stories are linked through the two storytellers-the mothers of the unborn child-and they all claim to be truths wrapped up in stories with no lies. Each story is preceded by a short introduction from either the mother carrying the child, or the other one whilst the carrier is asleep.

This premise is, at first, nice and calming, and introduces the meaning of all the stories. They're meant to teach something to the unborn foetus,
...more
Kaitlin
Sep 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
This collection, sadly, really didn't work for me. I didn't like any of the stories much and would only rate them at a 1*, 2* or 3*. l think that most of them were 1 or 2*s as I just didn't feel as if I could connect to any. This whole collection had potential, every story, but they nearly all finished inconclusively or didn't have a real ending. This was a major source of frustration for me as it felt as if the author didn't know what she wanted to get across and just left it open.
I like open
...more
Rikke
Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it
The Cruellest things do not hide in the dark.

A long time ago, when there was still summer in the air and leaves on the trees, I sat across a little pond and read. And while I read I was enveloped by the waves coming from the book. I drowned in a sea of words, of wonder and magic. I fell in love with a writer, and it was no silent thing.

Now, it's winter. The streets are not bathed in light, but covered in fog and mist. And I've finally found the time to revisit the writer who has such an
...more
Julie Eilén
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful.
Renee Godding
There are some books that don’t hold up to rereads. And then there are the ones that get even better upon revisiting them. Such was A Portable Shelter.

Was a five star, still a five star, will always be a five star.

I still hope to review this collection properly soon, but as with many favourites, I’m not quite sure how to approach that.
Sarah Dorothea
2.5 out of 5 stars! I must say that I really loved the first book by Kirsty Logan that I have read a while ago, but this one wasn't as good unfortunately, it was very confusing at times and there was no clear common thread throughout the novel - which made me really angry whilst reading... At the beginning of the novel, the readers are introduced to Ruth and her partner, Liska, who have escaped to the north coast of Scotland to await the birth of their first child. Having promised each other ...more
Christine Spoors
This book follows Ruth and Liska as they secretly tell stories to their unborn child from their sea-beaten cottage in the north of Scotland. Many of the stories were set in Scotland or featured Scottish folklore and they were very interesting to read. The stories all had quite sad and dark moments, and this book seemed to be exploring themes of life and death.

I must admit that I read this book on four hours sleep so I think most of the deeper meanings went over my head. I'm still quite new to
...more
Ashleigh
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best short story collection I've read in a long time, if not ever. I had a good feeling when I heard about this book and I didn't think my high-hopes would be lived up to, but in fact they were exceeded and I adored this. Every story was beautiful but the last one really hit me and, well, I cried.

Preordering this was the best idea I've had in a long time!
Ellen Gail
Aesthetically, this collection of short stories is a 10/10. It's gorgeous. The cover is soft as velvet and sort of quietly shimmering.

The insides however range from "really good" to "what the hell was that?"

So I'm going with 3 stars overall. But to be honest, at least 1/2 star is based on the cover. I'm shallow. Sue me.
Vanessa
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars.

I'll be honest, I didn't enjoy this collection as much as Logan's first collection The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales. It started off incredibly strong with my favourite story of the collection, Cutting Teeth, but after that I found it to be a bit of a mixed bag.

Logan's trademark lyrical, poetic writing is still there, so that doesn't disappoint. I just found this collection a little too whimsical for my tastes, and the fairytale, telling stories round the fire feel was a lot
...more
TheSkepticalReader
A Portable Shelter is about two women who are expecting a baby and decide to each spend time alone with the unborn child reciting stories and tales. It is a mixture of folklore, fairytales, and myth, one I expected to enjoy after enjoying Logan’s previous novel,The Gracekeepers, but had to abandon midway through.

Kirsty Logan is a beautiful writer, however the things she writes lack any meaning for me. One of the major weakness of a short story collection is the potential of feeling emotionally
...more
Merel
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
I don’t know how to explain eloquently that every story in this collection has so much soul and magic put into it that it often took my breath away, made my heart hurt or just feel so full of emotions. It’s so human, while also being so fantastical.
I think you should just find out for yourself what it does to you.
Heather
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
All stories contain a truth if you look hard enough - but it might not be a good truth.

Books as rewards for achieving tasks (like drafting your entire dissertation, go me!) are the best when they prove totally worth the wait, and A Portable Shelter was. It's about here I should admit that I never had any form of affinity for the short story until I read A Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, so on top of being thrilled to read more from Kirsty given that she sparked my interest in the shorter
...more
Charlotte Jones
Literally everyone and their mother loves this book. I actually borrowed the limited edition hardcover from my mum. I have to be honest though and say that I didn't really enjoy this collection of short stories.

The writing was beautiful in parts but I found it a little clunky at points; there was something about the writing that distanced me from all of the stories.

The stories themselves were okay but I found the majority of them to be extremely slow. However the second half of the book was much
...more
Peter
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
While two stories were interesting the rest in contrast were poor. When reading this one can tell the very amateur nature of the writing, unpolished and many with no discernable endings. Compared to The Gracekeepers this book comes across as the clumsy work of someone who hopes to be a big name writer.

In conlusion it is understandable as to the reason why this book is fund published and not by one of the big mainstream publishers. Come on Miss Logan you have an amazing potential that is wasted
...more
Katie Lumsden
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe 3.5. An interesting and enjoyable book, though not my favourite Kirsty Logan. I enjoyed a lot of the stories and loved the frame, but didn't always think they worked together.
Sarah
DNF @ 24%

Despite my better judgement I picked this up from the library the other day (probably the pretty cover...) and I was going to force myself through it but decided life is too short. The stories I did read (I think 3?) were so boring, had no depth, just a lot of ~pretty writing~. That may be enough for some people but not for me unfortunately!
Lauren
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lyrical, haunting and beautiful.

It's not often that you come across a short story collection where all of the stories are a pleasure to read but this book is a rare gem. You feel for all of Logan's characters; she has a real flair for creating distinct lives amidst fantastical scenarios all embellished with a poetic fairy-tale narrative.

A wonderful and exquisite read.
Alice Lippart
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
A magical and mysterious collection, very fascinating.
Rachel
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book that I’ve read by Kirsty Logan. The first was The Gracekeepers - a beautifully imagined novel about a floating circus and a world where land was scarce. I loved that novel - the dreamy atmosphere, the creativity, the stunning prose - but I was disappointed by the ending. Fortunately for me, Logan also wrote this short story collection - which has all the magic and dreaminess of The Gracekeepers, with a much better ending.
A Portable Shelter features a collection of stories
...more
Ilse
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
*3.5 stars

I'm having a hard time rating this. One side of me wants to give it 3 stars but the other side of me did really really love some of the stories in here and I am conflicted.
I have to be honest, I was hoping to love this book a lot more, I was expecting this to be a 4- or 5-star book and it ended up not being that for me. Which saddens me a little.
The story is about two women who are expecting a baby together and they have promised each other they will only ever tell their child the
...more
Iris
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-read
I’m utterly in awe of Kirsty Logan’s writing skills. This little short story collection was just packed with originality and folklore. My favourites were The Keep and Flinch, but really I liked all of them.
Jess
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
When I was little, I thought that everyone's past was a series of steps, like a board game. I know now that it's not so simple. Real life is beautiful because it isn't neat. Are you ready, Coorie? The sea is quiet. The birds float, wings tucked, bobbing on the waves. The sun has come out for you.

This was such a lovely read! Logan's writing really is quite breathtaking and it was a pleasure to sit down and read this by candlelight in the evening.

All in all I felt quite similarly about this as I
...more
Patty Killion
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
I enjoyed/liked this book!

To be honest I really didn't enjoy this assortment of short stories as much as I have enjoyed Kirsty Logan's writing in her other works.

It became a love/hate for me as I desired a few stories to continue further and not stop so abruptly. I enjoyed the first story "Cutting Teeth" the most and the rest were a hit or miss.

Kirsty Logan's writing is just so beautiful and lyrical!!!

I believe that the overall theme to these stories revolved around whether you stay or leave a
...more
Andy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Havelock
A beautiful collection of modern fairytales, with wonderful discriptions and an intriging framing device wrapping them all together.
Anika
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I NEED MOREEEEEEEE
Liz
One word - Meh.
I have certain expectations whenever I pick-up suck a collection. An author does not get the opportunity to gush and elaborate much in short stories. I expect them to be succinct, wrapped-up well and have a certain depth to them.
Unfortunately, this collection had none of the qualities listed above.
First things first, Liska and Ruth sounded almost exactly the same, the voices of these characters were difficult to distinguish and if you take into account what the collection
...more
Emma
"Each passes the time by telling the baby stories, trying to pass on the lessons they’ve learned: tales of circuses and stargazing, selkie fishermen and domestic werewolves, child-eating witches and broken-toothed dragons."

This is from the blurb, it led me to believe I were to read some truly magical, if dark, fairytales.
I was not.

YES, this is all in there, if you squint. Sometimes it's so subtle that I wouldn't have known what creatures I was reading about if I hadn't seen them mentioned in the
...more
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Kirsty Logan is a professional daydreamer. She is the author of two novels, The Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, and two story collections, A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. Her fifth book, Things We Say in the Dark, will be published on Halloween 2019.

Kirsty lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog. She has tattooed toes.
“But life is not a fairy tale. It's brighter and darker, longer and briefer, duller and more magical. It's full of contradictions, but one thing it's not is neat.” 6 likes
“Some people are happy with treasures and wide oceans. Some people are happy with a single stone. It doesn't matter what others want if it's not what you want.” 4 likes
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