It’s been a while back since I read an early proof of Tom Morris’s lovely new collection of short stories. I merely know him as the editor of Stinging Fly and the brilliant Dubliners 100 anthology and that guy I met on a judging panel I was at a Literary Death Match event who was softly spoken, charming and instantly funnier with his assessments of the readers than any of the rest of us.
In this, his first collection of stories, he shows us the pulled back lace curtains of (mostly) Caerphilly with a young lad working his last shift in a video store amidst a messed up love life, a 78-year-old pensioner on the lookout for his third wife, a bunch of Welsh lads on a stag in Dublin and, in Nos Da a borderline SF story of genuine heartbreak and sadness, a man in a sort of purgatory who watches his ex through cameras that are used in his job to create memory tapes for customers unbeknownst to his new girlfriend.
These are gorgeous, gentle, evocative, mainly quite internal small town stories told with strokes of narrative beauty. I find books of short stories a bit frustrating and quite patchy sometimes but Tom’s book should be enough to make anyone that might be of a similar preconception change their mind.