Stories in Short #25 (The Hotel Notorious)

Alexei Stepanovich signed his name with a flourished S on the gilded, yellow note-pad. He was disgusted by his name and much preferred everyone to call him “Sue.” As such, every time he was forced to sign a notepad, an image of his own mild face or the bare breasts of a middle-aged woman, he always signed…

Vote for a society that aims towards utopia

This isn’t some wishy-washy bullshit I’m going to put you through here. Utopia is unreachable. Duh. But hear me out. I’m a centrist. I tried really hard not to put too much weight on one side. Really. I did. But here’s how I see it. Disagree with me, please. To “survive” Brexit we need a strong…

On ‘In Patagonia’: get me out of this office

Bruce Chatwin’s formative In Patagonia is inspiring, not only because of the alluring wilderness the book focuses on, but because the book itself defies all the tropes of its genre. You’d be hard-pressed to call this just ‘travel writing.’ Think more…fictionalised non-fiction, with a significant focus on space, place and the distinction between the two.…

On Tendryakov and Solzhenitsyn

  I finished “One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” in a rapid two days, caught up in the Kazakhstan snowstorm that is this novel. A scarcity of language that matched the bare exposure of the gulag system, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s controversial work gave me a new light on how much can be said with very little.…

The Collector of Dumflin Bay

Six inches across, shaped like a banana. The cut runs from the woman’s neck, between her breasts, towards her navel. If I wanted I could peel the skin back and reveal her rib-cage. There’s no blood on her skin, no blood on the sand: she’s clean, clean all over, veins visible in her arms and…

Book number two

My first book is finished and comes in at 84,000 words. I’m trying to print it out, but it’s a hassle. You can read the introduction to the book here. Whilst I’m waiting for the book to stew over, and build up enough patience to print 256 A4 pages, I’ve started another project. This is…

A fresh start on my current project

I’d rather not tell you my name, if that’s okay with you. This story isn’t about me. It’s about Espen Stengard, who was born in 1994 in a shitty little town in Kent, which is in the South East of England, not far from the throbbing heart of the old empire. This was the year…