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Escape Routes

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Characterised by its own brand of pleasingly unsettling magic, Naomi Ishiguro's Escape Routes matches the inventiveness of David Mitchell with the fairy-tale allure of Angela Carter.

A space-obsessed child conjures up a vortex in his mother's airing cupboard. A musician finds her friendship with a flock of birds opens up unexpected possibilities. A rat catcher, summoned to
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published February 6th 2020 by Tinder Press
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Average rating 3.27  · 
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Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Enjoyable, if most of the time not very propulsive stories about modern day urban life, with some more fantastical interludes.
Until I know what’s wrong with me I have no hope of finding a cure, or a treatment, or any kind of escape route from out of this trap of myself, from these tortured thoughts and sentences, from this condition and this pain inside my chest.

Naomi Ishiguro had me very excited about this short story collections. As often, there is variety in how much I clicked with the storie
luce (so' morta dentro)
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Like many collections of short stories Naomi Ishiguro’s Escape Routes is a bit of a mixed bag.
The stories collected in Escape Routes are centred around individuals who feel 'trapped'. Throughout the course of these narratives Ishiguro’s characters seem to undergo some sort of existentialist crisis. Most are mystified by their present and deeply uncertain of their future. Some crave to break free from what they perceive to be an unfulfilling or somehow undesirable
Renee Godding
3/5 stars

I have to say: I don’t envy Naomi Ishiguro...
With the legacy of her father proceeding her, she clearly has some large shoes to fill. Although I tried to go into her debut collection with a completely open mind, I’d be lying if I said her last name didn’t play a part in me requesting an ARC of it.

It’s important to me to mention this subconscious bias that many of us may have towards the daughter of a Nobel price winner. Often times, there’s a lot of talk surrounding the rise of a new
I chose three of the shorter stories in this collection to read. (A number of the others promised magic realism from a child’s perspective, which didn’t appeal. In particular, the three-part “The Rat Catcher,” set in a palace, accounts for over 110 pages. That sounds like it should have been its own middle-grade novel.)

In “Bear,” a newlywed couple looking for secondhand furniture at an auction obtains a human-sized teddy bear whose presence starts to come between them. The mannered male narrato
Katey Bellew
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it

As with any collection, some entries will be more successful and impactful than others. For me, the stand outs were Shearing Season and Flat Roof. Unfortunately, the story I enjoyed least was The Rat Catcher, which actually came in three parts and took up quite a chunk of the book.

The writing is beautiful and I enjoyed how quickly I sank into the reality (often filled with anxiety, grief, uncertainty) of the characters. Having said that, there were very few characters here that I actua
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
In Naomi Ishiguro’s debut collection of short stories, we encounter a world of fantasy and fairy tale, where characters and their worlds are slightly out of the ordinary. As ever, short story collections generally have some good and some not so good, and this was no exception. The overall standard, however, makes Ishiguro a writer of note and one to watch for the future.

In ‘Wizards’ a lonely young boy is obsessed with wizards, whilst a hipster Tarot reader is busy trying to seduce a client. When
Nicky Neko
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I REALLY enjoyed this collection of stories. They all had an absolutely fantastic sense of voice and character. The narrative styles were different for each, but somehow they all had a beautifully cohesive feel to them.

My favourite stories were 'Accelerate!' 'Shearing Season' 'Bear' and 'Wizards'. 'Heart Problems' was also extremely good, and I particularly liked the shift in style midway through the story.

I'm really looking forward to Naomi's novel, and I shall continue to follow her writing c
Varsha Ravi (between.bookends)
Naomi Ishiguro writes beautifully. Her style is deceptively simple, yet there's an inherent lyricism, a cadence to her prose that makes the reading experience so pleasurable. This collection of stories isn't really unified by an obvious theme, but more loosely tied together by this feeling of finding oneself by escaping the constructs the characters might find themselves in. Most of the stories are situated in contemporary settings, except for the interweaving Rat Catcher series of 3 stories whi ...more
Danny Nason
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To some extent, I feel sorry for Naomi that every review (including this one) of her debut short story collection will undoubtedly begin by considering her as the daughter of Nobel Prize winning Kazuo. However, when you are the daughter of one of the best living novelists (and my personal favourite), the sympathy is blended with a fair share of envy too!

Despite the largest of large shadows from which she has to emerge, this debut work suggests Ishiguro Jr is more than capable of standing on her
May 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this, but it was not my cup of tea.

While I enjoyed a few of the stories (Accelerate!, the one about the kid who wants to be an astronaut, and the Rat Catcher), the rest were just... there. I would be lying if I said Naomi Ishiguro's writing is flat - it is not, she is talented and writes beautifully, but I the stories felt elegant but pointless, meaningless. I cannot mention other stores in the book because, while I read them in this past 3 days, I just don't remember th
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This provided my very own escape route when I needed it most ♥️ beautiful, magical and funny in all the right ways. Loved it!
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this! This collection of short stories focuses on themes like identity, freedom, and craving to break free. Naomi Ishiguro's writing is uncomplicated and beautiful, carrying a very nice balance of fantasy and reality. A fantastic debut, can't wait to read whatever she comes up with next. ...more
Apr 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: surreal
What an absolutely incredible and gripping collection of short stories. Woven together by themes of surrealism, escapes, coming of age, being untethered, and - of course - the Rat Catcher in three parts, these stories inject just enough magic into believable stories to reach the blurring of lines that I so love about this genre.
Ric Cheyney
Jun 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is a very dull book. Most of the stories seem like exercises in writing rather than inspired creative expression. Ishiguro has chosen to write short stories but she does not seem to have either the ideas or the skill needed to craft a story into a successful deployment of language. In fact, almost ALL of her written expressions are ordinary and show little regard for consistency of tone.
The stories themselves are largely uninteresting. Only one is close to successful: ‘Shearing Season’, whi
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
After the first two stories the fascination with Naomi Kazuo's talent outweighed my original curiosity how much of her father I would find here. There is the same precision and subtle irony, but there also are warmth and playfulness. These are stories of transformation, some of a conventional nature from life to death, others of a more abstract nature, from we to I, or from I to he, from single to multiple personalities, or from human to animal. Some motives are borrowed from fairy tale and myth ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whimsical yet grounded in reality. Naomi Ishiguro is a new talent. Each story is a pearl. Beautifully told with a mix of humour and sadness, each story builds on the next creating a thoughtful and insightful whole.
Joe Thomas
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A novel can often be a very interesting way of exploring a theme - such as love, freedom, grief - but the very form of the 'novel' brings with it some restrictions in the amount of different ways you can approach or discuss a subject without sacrificing the overall narrative. Many novelists do this incredibly successfully, but I've always found that short story collections can approach their subjects in a much more unique way, taking a whole range of drastically different characters, settings, p ...more
KiKi The #BookNerd KBbookreviews

Escape Routes, by Naomi Ishiguro is a collection of short stories, each of which have a fantastical or mystical element that it features. Normally, I write very long reviews but for this I figured a mini review would be much better for a few reasons:

1.Firstly, It contains multiple, easy to spoil short stories that I cannot go into detail about without giving away significant aspects.
2.Secondly, because there are a lot of different characters due to the numerous stories.
3.Finally, because, while
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it

When I requested Escape Routes from NetGalley, I obviously was not paying enough attention – I must have been distracted by the attractive cover. I am not a fan of short stories in general as I find them unsatisfying; no sooner have you started reading and it’s all over. Unfortunately, this also means I have nothing to compare these stories with.
Having said all that, the writing is very accomplished, but I was just not emotionally engaged. As the title suggests, there is a theme running through
Jason Wilson
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Via Audible.

This is the first work by Kazuo Ishiguro’s daughter : she very much has her own voice, though one sees hints of some of his themes of time, memory and place . There is also, in a good way, a slight Roald Dahl vibe at times, and her self confessed love of Doctor Who is reflected too.

There is a surreal, impressionistic feel throughout these stories that at times breaks into stream of consciousness writing and, of course, themes of escape. Wizards offers magic both imagined and the ma
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A collection of short stories full of magic and wonder, but also danger and unexpected turns. I look forward to reading Naomi Ishiguro's work for many years to come. ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and highly imaginative collection of short stories.
Nori Fitchett
Dec 31, 2021 rated it liked it
This is an adorable collection of short stories and I now really like magical realism! My favourite stories were The Rat Catcher part 1, part 2 and Flat Roof.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wish I could give it 6 stars
Anna Hepworth
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
Ishiguro writes beautifully. I just hated all the protagonists, and found that the stories were not fulfilling in ways that make up for that.

Overall impressions: so many disintegrating, self-absorbed individuals, mostly male. Strong internal narratives for some of the characters overshadow everything else. The writing verges on poetic, and the use of language was about all that got me through the whole book. World-building is sparse but intense. The few secondary women characters were barely ch
Jackie Law
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are nine short stories in this collection although three are one story presented as a trilogy. Titled, The Rat Catcher, this divided tale is set in a kingdom suffering from rodent infestation and associated disease. The new young king has gone into seclusion, abandoning his rundown palace to his half sister. The titular rat catcher is commanded to rid the palace of its vermin. Unbeknownst to him, his work will stoke a family feud with unsettling consequences. The writing is fable like with ...more
Mairead Hearne (

Escape Routes is the debut collection of short stories from Naomi Ishiguro and will be published with Tinder Press on February 6th. It is described as a book that is ‘characterised by its own brand of pleasingly unsettling magic…. matches the inventiveness of David Mitchell with the fairy-tale allure of Angela Carter.'

Escape Routes is a VERY eclectic mix of stories, all centred around the themes of traps, flight and freedom. We are introduced to different chara
Linda Hill
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A collection of innovative short stories.

It’s going to be impossible to define Escape Routes easily as Naomi Ishiguro’s writing transcends genre, blending and mixing both recognisable and intangible new elements into something fresh, innovative and bewitching. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection which took me several days to read because I found the stories intense and needed to savour and absorb them, giving them the attention they so richly merit.

Reading Escape Routes is a bit like watching t
Thomas Goddard
Aug 07, 2022 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've never felt so guilty over a star rating before. I feel like I've just read a YA story collection with adult pretensions.

Not a single story rose above a turbid and gluey simmer.

These seemed like stories for people who don't really want to pay attention. I found myself zoning out, slipping back into awareness and losing nothing in that space of time.

I'm so annoyed. I adore short stories. I'm in a groove reading some of the best writers who have ever lived and decided to read something more co
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am not a big fan of short stories although I have really enjoyed a couple of collections by authors that I already read but I also like to push my boundaries and embrace the new every so often. Something in the blurb for this book drew me in so I took a punt and, having read all the stories, I am really glad I did.
As you would expect some were more to my taste than others. I'm not going to single too much out but I really did enjoy the Rat Catcher trilogy - and yes I read the whole book in the
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Naomi Ishiguro studied writing at the University of East Anglia and is a former bookseller and bibliotherapist at Mr B.’s Emporium in Bath. She lives in London.

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