Sunday, 9 March 2014

Red Room : New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontes - edited by A J Ashworth

Red Room: New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontës continues Unthank Books' commitment to celebrating the short story. The collection includes twelve new stories by some of Britain's most accomplished writers, many of whom have won prizes such as the Macmillan/PEN Prize, the BBC National Short Story Award, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the V. S. Pritchett Prize. The collection also includes a poem by Simon Armitage.

The collection features a demon sheep, strange curates, acts of rebellion and acts of violence. There is love made and love ruined, parents lost and children found. A girl's controlling step-father gets more than he bargained for while out on a picnic. A troubled man finds comfort in the poetry of Emily Brontë during his wife's illness. A woman stumbles across a French officer while out walking and returns home with a secret.

A percentage of the profits from sales of the book will be donated to The Brontë Birthplace Trust to help with their plans for Thornton, Bradford - the village where all three sisters were born.

'Ranging from haunting to humorous, from formally inventive to jubilantly fantastical, and from 19th to 21st centuries, there is a story here for every taste, and for every Brontë lover.' Jane Rogers, author of Hitting Trees with Sticks.

Red Room ~ New Short Stories Inspired by the Brontes was published by Unthank Books in November 2013.

A J Ashworth's introduction to this book of short stories inspired by the Bronte sisters begins:

"The Brontes. Our nation's most famous sisters - Charlotte, Emily and Anne."
and continues ...
"The Brontes fascinate us. We love their books, we love the films and television dramas made of their books and we love them"

I have to agree with this so much. I've been fascinated by all things Bronte since my parents took me to the parsonage at Haworth almost 40 years ago.  I still have all of the books that I collected about their lives, and the postcards and bookmarks that I bought during that trip. The sisters were so far ahead of their times, their lives seemed so dark and lonely, yet they wrote with such passion.  Funnily enough, I loved the actual sisters and reading about them more than I actually loved their stories. I think I was a little obsessed - the original fan-girl?

The collection of stories entitled Red Room is diverse and eclectic, and include authors such as Alison Moore, Tania Hershman and David Constatine.  Some are funny, some are dark. Some are historical and some are modern. All of them celebrate the Bronte sisters, and their works in different ways.

Inspiration ranges from Catherine from Wuthering Heights to Jane Eyre, some are inspired by the lives of the sisters rather than their works. 

Red Room is a fine tribute to the Brontes, and most readers will find stories within the collection that will suit their taste. As with most short story collections, I did like some more than others, but on the whole I think this is a book that will be enjoyed by many.

My thanks to the publisher, Unthank Books who sent my copy for review.


1 comment:

  1. It sounds delightful, Anne. Does the writing do the sisters justice? I will definitely try to get hold of it.