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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In Hilligoss, a tired man searches for a son, a flamingo enthrals the night, and fireworks light up the lost. In these stories and more, Rusticles offers a meandering tour through backroads bathed in half light, where shadows play along the verges and whispers of the past assault daydreams of the present. Walk the worn pathways of Hilligoss.
Kindle Edition, 106 pages
Published July 8th 2017 by Cardboard Wall Empire
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Michael Finocchiaro
The author asked me to read and review her short story collection Rusticles and I am glad she did. There is a rich universe here of colors, tastes, feelings, a wonderful contrast between light and dark. The style is dark and brooding with plenty of heartbreak and desperation. I enjoyed her creativity and the uniqueness of her voice. Rusticles includes 11 stories that occur mostly around the fictional location of Hilligoss Hills in the UK somewhere. My favorite stories in this collection were "Dr ...more
Janie C.
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The stories in this collection shimmer with colors that are intermittently overshadowed by indistinct forms.  The impression one gets throughout the pages are of watercolors forming moody landscapes.  Some of the stories clarify into crystal impressions of wistfulness and ingrained memories.  Others hint at ghosts and the silhouettes of animals in distress.  The imagery in each story sets the mood for what will occur.  Sometimes the edges of reality are blurred, but the content is lush and engag ...more
Harry Whitewolf
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction

Generally, I’m not much into reading books of short stories. I find they can sometimes be too unconnected to warrant being a collection, or that they feel like germs of ideas for novels that haven’t been fully realised. But there are exceptions to that, and Rusticles is definitely one of them.

I read an advanced copy of this book a while ago and had so many reflections racing through my head about each story that I felt I was ready to write a review straight away. Then I found myself pondering on
Jay Green
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure whether it's Rebecca Gransden's work ethic that I should be jealous of or her innate talent. Maybe both. My lack of certainty stems from the impossibility of distinguishing craftsman - craftswoman - ship from natural flair in the beautifully elegant prose of these short stories. They are polished - if indeed they are polished - to the point of transparency, by which I mean that there is no sign left of the extensive effort that any mere mortal would have to expend in order to produc ...more
Mike Robbins
There’s no such place as Hilligoss. Except that there is. It’s the prototypical English town and its suburbs. Rebecca Gransden’s collection of short stories, Rusticles, sucks us into her imaginary town – Hilligoss, that most normal of places – and then confronts us with the unknown, the sinister and the supernatural against a background so familiar that these stories have a weirdness all their own. They are also written in simple, elegant prose. In fact these stories are compelling – for me. But ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this author's style of writing - eerily tender and deliciously enticing, yet original and unclichéd. Her work really is indescribable, and for me to try to describe it would most certainly be an insult to her, so I'm not even going to try. You really do have to see for yourself.

This collection is comprised of 11 hypnotising short stories based around the fictional town of Hilligoss. These stories are not exciting or entertaining, they are surreal and elusive. You will be thinking about th
Leo Robertson
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read this collection several times. While the stories themselves are elusive, there is one unanswered question that interests me the most: what are rusticles?

I think they are icicles made of rust. There are no such thing, and they don’t explicitly exist between these pages. That is, they are not objects that exist in these stories but perhaps something imagined by its characters. Something seemingly nonsensical, fantastic, inexplicable, seemingly purposeless maybe, but something new and dis
Daniel Clausen
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2020
I'm always impressed by writers who can marshal evocative details, things that capture times and places. This short story collection is a tutorial on how details can bring stories to life. Through prose that often borders on poetry, the author teases, provokes, and haunts. There is real magic in these stories. Often, the mechanism of this magic is her ability to focus on the details of a setting that people overlook.

Flaking paint, faded and moldy blue jeans, the texture of a plant, or the baren
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Whilst reading this book a thought kept popping into my head, "This is Fringe Fiction". It feels like that in Hilligoss there is a big story happening and there are some big players involved, this book though doesn't cover that story, this is about others that live in Hilligoss and the strange things that are happening in their lives.

The stories are short and the writing grabs you right away, you feel as if you already know the characters. Having read Rebecca's previous book I was ready for the
Rupert Dreyfus
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great little collection from Gransden. She does what few writers can do which is capture the complexity of the mundane beautifully. So many lush sentences swirling off the page. I could read them forever.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really well written short stories with an almost eerie-ethereal feeling to them. I was a particular fan of Breakneck Hill, The Neon Black, and Starlight Dumpers.
George Billions
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
When a magician distracts you with one hand while pulling off a trick with another, it's called sleight of hand. What Rebecca Gransden does must be called sleight of words. She has you looking at all kinds of little details in her stories, distracting you with vivid imagery, and then you find that something else has been going on all along. That something else is often something strange, leading to some good we're-not-in-Kansas-anymore moments. ("Toto, I have a feeling... wait a minute, are thos ...more
Leonie Hinch
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: no-genre
I was first introduced to Rebecca when I read her novel Anemogram in exchange for an honest review, find that here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakingupo... and I also had the pleasure of interviewing her, https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakingupo...

Rebecca has such an unusual and beautiful way of writing of which I have never seen the like, the only author I can possibly compare her to is Peter S Beagle, which I have said before. Take the opening sentence of the first story in the collection that i
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Each short story makes its own impression like the growth rings of a tree. It's structure strategically crafted from the roots to the crown in creating Hilligoss, its setting, characters and storytelling. These are the kind of stories that can be told over a campfire or by moonlight in the stark silence. Think of them as dark nuggets setting stage and scene with the reader as the captive audience not willing to move or speak to interrupt the varied ambience. Like watching a Shakespearean play an ...more
Mary Papastavrou
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I finished reading the Anemogram, this author's first novel I was in awe of her talent. I predicted major literary awards to come to her way one just day. The feeling was so solid as to expect with much excitement her next offering and holding her work in the highest esteem, as many others do. I just finished the Rusticles and the feeling is much amplified. How can you call greatness other than with its own name? Because this is my take as a reader. That I just encountered greatness. The ki ...more
Jack Stark
Sep 19 Read
This was my fourth or fifth read-through in about 15 months! I never stop loving these stories.

First Read
You can read my much more in depth review of this on my blog, Random Melon Reads, where this was awarded a Golden Pip (the best of the best)!

I’m so happy I walked the worn pathways of Hilligoss! After reading anemogram. and falling in love with Gransden’s writing, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I got on this.

I genuinely love every single story in this book. They are full of G
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
If the purpose of any form of art is to provoke a reaction, then I’d have to say that Rusticles succeeded. Unfortunately, my reaction was mainly bewilderment. I’m sure that says more about me than about the skill of the author, as I’m aware the book has received many rave reviews from other readers.

Whilst I could admire the originality of some of the writing, there were some similes/metaphors that I found puzzling – ‘The pavement reflected a bitter light like vomit’ from ‘Neon Black’ or ‘He fou
Selcouth  Station
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emma Donoghue said that “the great thing about a short story is that it doesn’t have to trawl through someone’s whole life; it can come in glancingly from the side" (original source unknown). That is precisely what we see in Rusticles, subtle glances and memorable snapshots of human lives. What you find here is something hauntingly beautiful and refreshingly different from your classic short story, here Gransden lays out stories akin to Polaroid pictures, capturing the raw emotional moments of d ...more
Adam Smith
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rusticles was a pleasantly literary read after months and months of genre books, something to wrap my mind around and dig my teeth into. It's a series of short stories interconnected by themes and locations and just a general, overall mood of melancholy, my favourite of which is Dilapidated Flamingo, a story about a boy trying to feed a mysterious flamingo that keeps appearing in his garden. Like the other stories, character is key. There's a mystery or mysterious event occurring, but it's the e ...more
Judith Barrow
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
I am unfamiliar with this author’s work so the first time I read each story two thoughts struck me: they are unique in that they are written in an oblique style difficult to grasp initially; much is implied within phrases and partial , seemingly unfinished dialogue. And secondly, that these tales are almost poetic prose. I say almost, because for me, they stopped just short of creating flowing images; the pictures they create are elusive. And this, I think, is what Rebecca Gransden is aiming for ...more
Bernard Jan
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
You watch a huge white canvas from the comfort of your armchair and a painter mixing colors before applying her first spontaneous strokes on its surface. A rough sound of brush mingles with the enthusiastic chirping of the birds, the dance of the wind and the light curtains at the open balcony door and the clinging of the ice in the half-filled glass of lemonade sweating in your hand. Soft French music plays on the gramophone in the darkest corner of the room. Maybe Edith Piaf? Non, je ne regret ...more
Stephanie Jane
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Rusticles is an eerie collection of eleven short stories all set in or around a town named Hilligoss. Through each of the tales we catch glimpses of its people and the darker side of life there. Gransden has a talent for evoking places, expertly presenting ordinary scenes, but then just twisting them enough to result in a recognisable yet unnerving situations. My favourite stories in Rusticles are great examples of this. In Dried Peas On A Wa
This collection of short stories is a bit like a Tough mudder for the mind. It frequently confronts the reader with obstacles and challenges and exercises more cogniative abilities than you ever believed you had. I ended the book feeling I had been stretched to my limit but had emerged a better person.
Rebecca Gransden seems to have that rare abilities of taking the mundane and make it amazing. Yes there are some strange moments but mostly it's about observations of the human state.
Valerie Roberson
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review
Rusticles is a bunch of short stories with meaning. Never before have I read a story with such detail, amazing work. Rebecca Gransden is a new author to me and I really enjoyed her work. The stories are very different from most short stories that I have read in the past. Some of them I had to sit back and go back over the story to get the gist of it, hopefully I interpreted them right. Below is my short review of each of the short stories in Rusticles.
1) The Neon Black
The Neon Black is about a
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, read-2017
As the author’s bio and book description should make clear, these stories are different. Some might call them strange or even weird. Like the one about the park some people go to have sex, the high school boys who like to spy on them, and the two girls who decide to do something about it and how that turns out. If you think I just wrote a run-on sentence there then I wonder what you’ll make of the story called The final diary entry of Miles Feist. It’s 1232 words in one long sentence. (Maybe it’ ...more
Mike Thorn
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full review from my website

Rebecca Gransden’s Rusticles quickly makes two things apparent. First, it lends its focus most intently on sensory language and imagery (consider introductory story “The Neon Black”‘s opening line: “Out of the blue and into the black neon night, along a street made of pulse shaking off its dreams”). Second, this book has very little use for the standard ingredients of narrative fiction. Full of cryptic, off-kilter language and scenarios driven by obliqueness and obscur
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gransden has a real gift for creating such immersive, tangible atmospheres. That slightly-off-kilter sense of place has a magnetic effect upon the reader and ties these stories to one another. Favorites from this volume included "Black & Blue," "Breakneck Hill," and "Dilapidated Flamingo." ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There's basically two kinds of surrealism, one being heavy-handed and obvious like Mr. David Lynch, pounding you in the face with brass knuckles, "A DANCING MIDGET!!! IN A RED-CURTAINED RROOM!!! SURREALISM!" Then there's Antonioni, the Eclipse ending with long, lingering shots of quiet, empty streets hinting that something traumatic is about to happen, giving us this odd, unsettling feeling. That's the overall vibe you get from Rebecca Gransden's Rusticles.

I once took a Creative Writing class an
A beautifully wrought collection of short stories all based in the same place so adding up to more than individual tales. Some have a really queasy feeling of something dangerous under the surface, while others give a reminder of what it was like to be young.
Danielle Kozinski
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
It was interesting. It was enjoyable, it made me think, and it is definitely something to read if you're not looking for anything particular. It is made up of little short stories than are almost just random thoughts because they don't aren't stories like I'm used to (stories like Lord of the Rings, or Reign of the Marionettes, or even the short story I wrote). This is nice in its own right, because you don't feel the need to grow attached to the characters and you don't feel a rush to get to th ...more
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This author has always lived by the sea.

She tends to write about the edges of things so if you inhabit the fringes you may find something to like.

If you are interested in reading any of her books then send her a message and she'll get it to you in the digital format (PDF, MOBI, or eBook) of your choice.

Fellow indies - feel free to get in touch.

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“Now my hand tested the boy. Knuckles drawn up, spider-like, I walked my fingers over the table in careful steps, not taking my eyes from his face.” 10 likes
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