Nod Ghosh's Reviews > On The Bitch

On The Bitch by Matt Potter
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really liked it
Read 3 times. Last read March 27, 2018.

"On the Bitch" is an apt introduction to the popular genre novella-in-flash. Thirty-five stories follow five disparate characters over a weekend holiday. Each acts as a stand-alone piece, yet there are common threads through them all. The reader is dropped into narrator Hugh's world anew with each tale, and that is the nature of good flash fiction: start when you must, finish when you can.

The characters are likeable because of their vulnerability. They are likeable because of their quirkiness. They are likeable for their unlikeableness.

Even the table of contents entertains, with titles like "Dream", immediately followed by "Cream".

The book is split into three sections, named simply Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Whilst there are some flashbacks to fill in the characters' backgrounds, most of the stories follow a chronological sequence, observing the dysfunctional permutations as the men and women snap and snarl at each other and occasionally have sex with household appliances ... in the vicinity.

Some of the work was inspired by prompts the author requested from fellow writers in 2012. This leads to delicious juxtapositions as seen in "Samoa", where Hugh tries to read a dull book while his partner attempts to seduce him:

"...I did not care for Sybil's forgiveness.
Under the sheet, a foot rubs my calf..."

The stories in the mid-section have an additional depth, yet maintain the wry humour introduced in the earlier part.

Magda, who hails from Germany, murders the English language, using words like "impoaster". We see Hugh become increasingly intolerant of her idiosyncrasies as their relationship disintegrates.

Highlights for me include:

On discussing the fact that pies are not part of German cuisine: "...If a German woman offers you a German pie, then she is an impoaster or the pie is an impoaster or both are impoasters..." (From "Dream".)

"...I wasn't aware farting in your sleep was possible until, newly-arrived in Berlin, I started seeing a woman from Belarus who ate a lot of eggs..." (From "Lights Out".)

"...'Never trust a hungry nun,' Magda says..." (From "The Apple of a Nun's Eye".)

I haven't quoted from many, not so much to avoid 'spoilers', but because you need Potter's build up to appreciate the subtlety of the humour. He had me laughing out loud. A lot.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
March 27, 2018 – Started Reading
March 27, 2018 – Shelved
March 27, 2018 – Finished Reading

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