Short Stories by Mark Howard Jones

Illustrated by Marcia Borell

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Night Country is yet another small chapbook from D-Press, featuring four stories from a comparatively new author, Mark Howard Jones, aptly illustrated by Marcia Borell.

A Blue Room With One Window is a Kafkaesque short nightmare, where a man taking lodgings in a new place wakes up to find himself living--and breathing- in water. Not an unpleasant predicament it seems, until the final horror materializes...

Burning Sian, a surrealistic, tiny piece of fiction about a woman convinced that her head is enveloped in flames, failed to impress me, while The Song of Sorrow appears as a more convincing, mature artefact, portraying an unhappy boy who manages to leave behind an unloving father, a house too full of memories and, most of all, a meaningless life.

Cicatrice Mistress, the longest and possibly the best of the four stories, is an offbeat tale of white magic, describing the power of art as well as its actual inability to (re)-create life, and the obsession leading some men to try and have power over death.

I need to read more by MHJ before I dare to pass judgement on this writer. But I'd certainly like to read more stories by him, which is already a kind of positive judgement, isn't it?

You may like his fiction or not, but MHJ's ideas are never trite, his imagination always vivid, his writing style steady and original. I'll keep an eye on him.

Night Country, A4, 36pp, £1.00 incl p&p

For details of how to purchase, visit the Bookshop here

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