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Salt Water and other short stories

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The mother who uses charity as a weapon. The invisible chef and his deadly mashed potato. The obsession that takes a man closer to the mysteries of the cosmos than he counted on. The man who can’t stop crying. The murderer who helps his victims escape real death. The weekend break that turns into a journey to edges of sanity. And more.

Eleven off-centre stories that blend
Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Published May 15th 2019
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 ·  28 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Lawrence Switzer
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this dark collection, we have a reader’s late-night buffet of provocative stories concocted and served by a writer who has a unique mind and—for my money—a brilliant one. Certainly, his brilliance is a dark brilliance, but there are many veins of humor and humanity running through that darkness, tempering it. I’d describe this collection as a group of chess pieces sculpted out of highly polished black marble.

We begin with a portrait of a woman—more or less ordinary at first glance—as depicted
Linda Lou
I’m always a little skeptical about short stories. An author of short stories must be a really really good storyteller because there are only so many pages of paragraphs to lure in a reader. I need not have been concerned as I was pulled in...whole line and sinker by the second story.

The stories are a bit dark, some gruesome and others bordering on the grisly side of the macabre which made them perfect to curl up with on the sofa, a blanket, the lights turned low and a glass of red wine at hand
This was a great short story collection. The writing is poignant and visceral, sometimes beautiful, often disturbing. While reading them, I felt mostly unsettled. The kind of unsettled you want to feel when reading a story with existential horror elements, that is.

One of these stories is set in Barcelona, where I was born, and it conveyed what it's like to be sick in a hot climate so accurately, I felt physically sick while reading it. If that's your kind of thing, you'll love this book.
Samantha Henthorn
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A skilfully written collection of short stories. Good shorts should leave the reader thinking ... I read that somewhere, and have thought it ever since. Sef Hughes has got it, I'm thinking right now! Favourites and standouts are Mother Dear about a self-glorifying woman who cares for her image rather than her child's welfare. Once a Civil Servant - whole new meaning to the role! And 'Are You Scared' - nice twist. I won't name all the stories, but they all have good characters and excellent plots ...more
Carolyn Thompson
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this collection of shorts, and can’t recommend it highly enough. It's a must for anyone who likes their stories dark and just a little weird. While some of them are bizarre verging on sinister, others are heartbreakingly charming or darkly hilarious. Really well crafted. Particular favourites were Once a Civil Servant, Mother Dear, A Survival Guide for the Unseen and The Tears of Noel Hardy. I'll definitely be reading this one again, and looking out for more in the future. ...more
Andrea Arango
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
My favorite kind of short story collection - dark & twisty! Very glad I picked it up and will keep an eye out for future books by this author.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
While this book of short stories was undeniably well-written, it was just not for me. Stories that others might reasonably find brilliant, I found depressing and (mostly) meaningless. I thought that the first story, Mother Dear, had a great concept (who hasn't met a woman like that?), but the ending left me disappointed. Of all the stories, my favourite was Salt Water. I thought there was a beauty and wistful sadness to it that was really well done. I'm sure many people will also enjoy Tap Tap a ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very strong collection of stories, particularly the last two. The four stars if for the last two. I might give three stars to some of the stories. On the whole very enjoybale.
Zuzu Burford
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Salt Water is just one of many excellent stories that Sef Hughes has written making this one of the best collection I have had the pleasure to read in a long time. The mixture of styles, subjects, and emotions are all on display from a talented author that has mastered the short story craft. Read it an enjoy.
Thanks to NetGalley / Kobo I have given an independent review.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, 2020
Many of my favourite authors have a skill for writing across genres - Michel Faber is a good example - but it is definitely a skill. Some fail even managing it book by book, so it is admirable when someone attempts it in a collection of short stories, where the changes are even more obvious. Hughes is obviously talented in writing across a range of genres, however some are definitely better than others, which leaves this book feeling uneven. To me it read something like a collection where a stud ...more
Michelle Best
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great collection of beautifully written short stories.

I enjoyed all the stories which is unusual in a collection like this. I’m used to finding a couple of great stories & more than a few ‘fillers’

The collection reminded me of Roald Dahl’s creepy ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ that I loved. Whilst there was nothing explicitly horrific about the stories they definitely fell into the category of dark with enough variety to not get boring.

Thanks to the publisher & Book Sirens for an advanced reader’s co
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
'Salt Water' by Sef Hughes is an excellent collection of short stories where each story is uniquely crafted, worth reading, and rereading. I perceived this collection as a mysterious, dramatic, stylish, and addictive black & white film with a surprising end and a significant impact. Especially memorable were Mother Dear, The Tears of Noel Hardy, Salt Water, Tap Tap, Once a Civil Servant, Salt Water, and The Wind on Joshua Street. A good read! Highly recommend! ...more
Lauren Mendez
I found this work to be thoughtful, eerie, and poignant. The short stories grappled with heavy concepts and topics but in eclectic and interesting ways. I found the stories to highlight the moral gray areas. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving my honest thoughts on the work.
Norman Turrell
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well-written and varied collection of short stories. Food for the imagination and for thoughtful reflection. The author has an accomplished literary, but very readable style, and the stories have believable characters embedded in well-crafted plots. I recommend this collection to all.
Cynthia Star
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sharp, poignant and disturbing. If that sounds like the stories you crave, then you won’t be disappointed. Entertaining and very well written book. Each tale will suck you in and take you to places you may or may not want to go!
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Sef Hughes
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Sef Hughes was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and has lived in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Pittsburgh, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. He is currently hiding out in a small fishing port on the North Yorkshire Coast.

A version of his short story Lost Cargo was published in Litro USA in 2015, and The Straw Hat appeared in the Dream Issue of Popshot Quarterly in 2018. Salt Water is his first collection of shor

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