Monday 23 September 2013

Book Impressions - 100 One Hundred Word Tales by Jonathan Hill

Anyone who knows me knows the I love drabbles, if you don't know what drabbles are then they are a form of short fiction that are exactly 100 words long (not including the title). What makes them fun is that they are a bite-size story that can be enjoyed in those little gaps in the day. They also present a good challenge for writers trying to make a story coherent and interesting in so few words.

In this latest book by Jonathan Hill he presents 100 drabbles and they come in all kinds of flavours, many are dark, many are funny and many are both. I've read the author's drabbles on various sites, so when he announced that he was writing a book full of them I was immediately interested and I'm pleased to say that I wasn't dissapointed.

He is a master of the form, many of the finest drabbles are structured like a good job, they set you up and then twist the tale right at the end. There are some fine examples of this in the book, there's also some fun themes throughout with some of the drabbles forming a series. And for fans of Maureen, she makes a few appearences as well.

Overall this is a fun and quick read, you can read them all at once as I did, or dip in and out when you feel like it. I'm pleased that the drabble form is growing in popularity and this book should certainly help with that cause.

Welcome to the wonderful world of drabbles!

A drabble is a piece of writing precisely 100 words long. A challenge to write, but fun to read, they often tell a tale with a twist or encapsulate an idea or emotion.

In this collection, perfect for dipping into in a spare moment, you'll experience the full gamut of emotions, amusing and shocking twists, several mini-series of drabbles, and a surprise or two along the way.

And, true to drabble rules, everything in the book is exactly one hundred words in length, from the stories themselves to the foreword and this blurb!

A flavour of what's inside:

The Understudy

Night after night after night for six weeks I had played the silent shopkeeper. I knew the lead role inside out, back to front, and upside-down. Yet the leading actor, so sickeningly good in the role, seemed resistant to any form of ill health or injury.
His face was a picture when he walked into his dressing room and saw me standing there in his Act One clothes.
"What the...?"
"I thought you were indisposed this evening," I clarified.
"Why would you think that?"
I didn't give him the chance to even glimpse the knife before it penetrated his abdomen.


I stand high on the motorway bridge, watching the cars speeding to and from work. I am taken back to my childhood and I see myself standing over my play-mat, toy cars spread out at my feet. I think of family and friends as I sway in the wind. I can hear sirens. And now I can see flashes of blue. For just a second, I myself consider jumping, unable to process what I have just witnessed. I look down again, see the dark unmoving shape at the side of the road. I hadn't been able to talk him down.

A Young Man's Concern

I inspect myself in the mirror, checking for blemishes and admiring the bulges beneath my tanned arms. My smile fades as the niggling thought resurfaces. What if 'it' happens? But they're waiting; no backing out now. I quickly adjust my hair (as if that's what they'll be looking at!) before dropping my boxer shorts.
I enter the room and breathe a relieved sigh, for the wrinkled faces that peer round easels belong to bodies at least thrice my age. I assume my position, safe in the knowledge that my blood supply will not be taking any unwanted diversions this afternoon.

100 One Hundred Word Tales is available from Amazon (and is a great read)

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