Death, motherhood,the nature of reality, and the gender expectations of cultural conditioning are woven through these biting little stories in Sandra Arnold's debut flash fiction collection. Sometimes sad, surreal and sinister, they're also shot through with love and a deep understanding of humanity.
In gorgeous, spare prose that paints a very vivid picture, Sandra Arnold gives voice to characters that are often unheard. From Daisy in Fireworks Night, willing to do whatever it takes to protect her little sister; to Hathor in The Girl With Green Hair who has her body in the world we live in and her mind in the one that not many people see; and Ruby in Don't Mess With Vikings who finds strength in a diagnosis of illness to stand up to bullies. With the stories in this collection, Sandra Arnold etches marks on your soul that will last.
"Sandra Arnold's stories are small windows into another world, a world which is almost this world. She brings the readers in, page by page, enticing with dream-like language and insightful observation. Beguiling, strange, tender and chilling, these potent gems continue percolating in your mind long after the reading is done." -Meg Pokrass, author of Alligators At Night
"Mastery of the short form is a delicate, nerve-wracking balancing act. Tilt one way and you fall into bathos, tilt the other and you plunge into artifice and contrivance. There is very little room to manoeuvre. Sandra Arnold, in this rich collection demonstrates just how it should be done. In story after brilliant story, she negotiates the tightrope surely, often with bravura, and all without the aid of a safety net." -James Norcliffe, author of Dark Days at the Oxygen Cafe
"Sandra Arnold’s debut flash collection is simply beautiful. There’s an element of the mystery of humanity and the world that will fill readers with wonder. Each detail is unique and woven together in a universal tapestry, and Soul Etchings will leave readers craving more from Sandra Arnold." -Niles Reddick, author of Reading the Coffee Grounds and Other Stories
"A wise and poetic sensibility currents through these stories in Soul Etchings. They are short, yet substantial — intimate and keen. Here are stories of place and of the heart." -Robert Scotellaro, author of What We Know So Far
Sandra Arnold lives in New Zealand. She has a MLitt (High Distinction) and PhD in Creative Writing from Central Queensland University, Australia and is the author of a book on parental bereavement, Sing no Sad Songs and two novels, Tomorrow’s Empire and A Distraction of Opposites. Her first flash fiction collection Soul Etchings (Retreat West Books, UK) was published in June 2019. Her third novel, Ash (Mākaro Press, NZ) will be published in August 2019. Her essays have been published in TEXT, Research into 21st Century Communities, PostPressed, Australia, Corpus: The Journal of Medical Humanities, University of Otago, Headland, Atlas Medical Literary Journal, Social Alternatives, Deep South, New Zealand Society of Authors Journal, Booknotes: The Journal of the New Zealand Book Council, The Spinoff, Connotation Press, Landfall and TSS Publishing. Her short stories and flash fiction appear in numerous international journals and anthologies including Sleep is a Beautiful Colour (National Flash Fiction Day, UK, 2017) and Bonsai: Best Small Stories from Aotearoa New Zealand (Canterbury University Press, NZ, 2018). Her work was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize and the 2017 and 2018 Best Small Fictions. She was a finalist in the 2018 Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, the 2017 University of Sunderland Short Story Award, winner of the 2015 New Zealand Heritage Short Story Award and recipient of the 2014 Seresin Landfall University of Otago Press Writers Residency. She was a founding editor of the NZ literary magazine Takahe and is a guest editor for Meniscus: the journal of the Australasian Association of Writing Programmes and Flash Frontier. www.sandraarnold.co.nz
"Her writing is insightful, intriguing and unafraid of balancing itself between the worldly and otherworldly, the poetic and the pithy... I'll return to the haunting stories in Soul Etchings over the months to come and enjoy their mystery and vivid humanity all over again..." Read Emma Timpany's full review at: https://theshortstory.co.uk/short-sto...
A collection of flash fiction covering motherhood, childhood, relationships, love and loss, written with both verve and tenderness. Some stories are slightly surreal, others grounded in the messy reality of life. A book to pick up and dip into.
I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of this collection of flash fiction as it was released in the UK. Amanda Saint from Retreat West publishing was promoting the book at the Bath Flash Fiction Festival.
I love Arnold's writing. The author knows how to construct a compact piece of writing with poignancy and feeling.
Many of the stories feature ghosts or 'seeing people' perhaps one shouldn't. There are psychotic houses and grieving parents. Some pieces border on poetry, though all are poetic to some extent.
Overall, an enjoyable read from an accomplished author.
These stories are so deft. They took me to new places, showed me new people but I felt connected to them as if they were something to do with me, as if though showing me something different they connected to my own experiences. There is something universal about these brief stories that resonates in the spaces between them. It's one of those books that I will visit again and again. And that cover too. If any image was going to tempt inside a book, its that...