The Mechanics' Institute Review

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The Independent Culture

A seasoned reader might pick up this collection of 26 stories produced by the students on Birkbeck's creative writing MA course with a small internal groan, but the quality is suprisingly high with little signs of laboured, classroom learning.

Stories provide an aperture into inner worlds ranging from a man in thrall to a high-class prostitute, to the lyrical, lurid daydreams of a woman on a train, an adult re-writing of a fairy story and an uninterrupted monologue delivered in vernacular by a teenager, caught among sinister forces, in a Molly Bloom style single breath, which is as gritty as it is poetic. It includes work by published authors, not least the rare treat of a short story by the late David Foster Wallace.