At The Puffin Review the editor, Julie McDowall, wants to give new authors a break. She recognises the crucial importance of those first few publications and has created a forum where that can happen. Issue 3 has just been published online. What’s in it and does it hit the mark?
Daniel Gothard’s Bursting with Love starts with a tragedy and ends with a shock. I like that the emotional tension is held throughout. In the Lucky Butchery (Philippa Wilkinson) you will find an oddly threatening encounter – more interrogation than conversation – with a shopkeeper. Hotel Prometheus, by Chris Markwell, is darker than noir; horror in a few focused paragraphs whilst Verity Holloway’s vivid Bernie paints a sad character with a slightly surreal edge. The use of repetition is gently mesmerising.
Rich description ends with a a lovely spirituality in the Nepalese-set The Book Reader of Pokhara (F. Harvey Anderson) and the tension builds alarmingly in Julie McDowall’s The Date with the Clown where apparent ambivalence, duality and shifting sands abound. She’s not there by Alan Crossan is real and touching – utterly believable – and a short essay by Rachel McGregor on The Fine Line Between Fiction and Film hits the mark. Jumping Frenchmen of Maine by Michelle Honey Mullet has atmosphere, action and intensity, and is a powerful short story.
Richard Biddle’s Scarecrow has some evocative imagery and leaves lingering sadness whilst the narrator in Thomas Simpson’s Interlude is not quite protected by his reasonable rationalisations. Then there is Signals. You can make up your own mind about that one.
It’s a stimulating, engaging and, at times, quite unsettling read. My advice? Don’t wait – go straight there and enjoy!