NOT SO PERFECT by Nik Perring
Not So Perfect by Nik Perring was kindly sent to me by Roast Books. I read most of it soon after it arrived and finished it last night. There's lots of good stuff here, and it is a pleasure to read. It consists of 22 sort pieces, some so short they are akin to poetry: 'When You're Frightened Honey Think of Strawberries', for instance is just one page long and yet for me was one of the most successful pieces in the book.
Another I think works particularly well is 'Watching, Listening' - a creepy tale about a man watching a mother read in a library and explores that narrow area between curiosity and the obsessive interest of the stalker.
Nik Perring also shows he can swap gender convincingly in 'The Lump' - as well as play around with the reader's expectations. It's well written and surprising.
I also very much like 'The Other Mr. Panossian' in the way the story is hinted at but not said, but I think in terms of story it was Sobs that was my favourite. It was unusual, atmospheric and particularly well structured - quite an accomplishment for a story of six short sides.
There are other stories too, many based on marvellous ideas full of potential: 'The Shark Boy' who can't stop moving; the woman who actually spits fire; another woman who vomits animals - and Nik Perring goes running with them, rather like Tania Hershman did in 'The White Road'.
The collection is beautifully presented by Roast Books - everything that this publisher produces is a little gem and I think any author published by them is a fortunate one.