Title: Because I Don’t Know What You Mean and What You Don’t
Author: Josie Long
Publisher: Canongate Books
Three teenagers believe they are witches. A woman defaces a local billboard. A bored landlord tries to influence his son’s best friend. A cul-de-sac WhatsApp group discusses eggs at length. A heavily pregnant woman finds a way to time travel and a girl discovers joy on a stolen bicycle…
Each tale paints a life in miniature and offers an escape chute from the catastrophes of modern life.
Because I Don’t Know What You Mean and What You Don’t is a collection of short stories which, for me, sums up why I love short stories. Here we have a range of offbeat and punchy vignettes which each offer a ‘slice of life’ insight into the various characters’ lives and human experiences. Each of them is dealing with their own issues and tensions, and I found it fascinating to read about them, even if only briefly.
As is always the case with a collection of stories, I connected more with some than others but I truly enjoyed reading them all – which is quite rare for me. The characters are deep, interesting and flawed – and they, or the people around them, are often problematic in their own ways, but SO intriguing to read about! Some stories are deliciously dark and often bittersweet in their tone. Each was thought-provoking in its own way, and I thought the writing was great – incredibly engaging and I found that the mix of stories felt very well curated.
I’d highly recommend Because I Don’t Know What You Mean and What You Don’t, especially if you’re after a dark and intriguing collection of short stories which make you think.
My rating: 4.5/5