“There are many different types of beginnings. And who’s to say we haven’t imagined our lives up to this point? Who’s to say we haven’t been propelled into this world from a parallel universe? One that’s just come into existence? This could be the very beginning of it, now. I mean, there’s no one else here. Listen. It’s completely quiet.”
TITLE & AUTHOR: The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
GENRE: Short Stories/Fantasy/Magical Realism
PUBLISHED : November 2nd 2017, by Two Roads
MY RATING: 4/5
Weird, magical and beautiful.
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of quirky and magical short stories, which I really enjoyed. Jen Campbell is also weird, and I love her YouTube videos, and I‘ll definitely read other works by her: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops and More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, which sounds very interesting.
These twelve stories are quite different from one another, but they are all connected by a high dose of magical realism, and the fact that each story speaks right to your heart. Everybody can recognize themselves in one of these gems.
Some of my favorites from the collection are:
Jacob – written in a letter form, from a little boy to a weather reporter, detailing his life and asking some very important questions and at the same time uncovering the true, sad story that lies just underneath the everyday things.
Margaret and Mary and the End of the world – Also a very touching piece, revolving around a famous painting and a girl Margaret, who tries to find comfort from her abusive mother in religion, art and fairy-tales, drawing powerful parallels in struggles of various women, be they real or made-up.
Little Deaths – A really interesting fantastical tale where ghosts are THE merchandise, that is if you manage to catch one, and of a superb quality.
Aunt Libby‘s Coffin Hotel – Another paranormal story, where aunt Libby and her niece Ankaa run a scam using fear of death, unaware of the consequences and that maybe some things aren’t that imaginary and that far away.
Sea Devils – This one reminded me so much of Margo Lanagan, and I adore her writing, but regardless of that what’s not to like when witches, sea crabs and Hollywood are involved, plus a powerful message beneath it all.
I thoroughly enjoyed all twelve stories, even though some are better than the others, as with any short story collection I’ve read so far, but all in all this was a beautiful and magical experience.