Sunday, November 25, 2007

No More Angels-Ron Butlin

No More Angels
Ron Butlin
Serpent’s Tail, Feb 2008, $14.95
ISBN: 978185429546

This Scottish anthology contains fifteen short stories, five ultra short tales (each under two full pages) and a novella (“Alice Kerr Went With Older Men”). Each entry from the “Five Fantastic Fictions” (the under two pages each grouping) to the Alice Kerr novella share in common characters who seem genuine as they struggle for equilibrium following a disappointment, setback, or tragedy yet end with a bizarre twist of hope as the person takes action. The contributions appeared in various Scottish publications, the Internet or BBC radio.

This is a terrific collection starring real people doing things to uplift themselves in spite of feeling down. Whether it is Donna telling her stunned host that his open skylight is “How the Angels Fly In” or a grieving bone weary geriatric Mrs. Williams providing “Kindness” to a Grinch of a driver by puncturing his air in a way we all would love to do, readers will not just empathize; they will wear the shoes of the characters. Closing out with Alice Kerr on an optimistic note, Ron Butlin provides a strong look at people overcoming for a moment the nastiest spitballs that life has tossed at them even knowing the quagmire remains to engulf them again shortly.

Harriet Klausner