Close Call: Short and Bittersweet (my first literary review!)

“Close Call: Short and Bittersweet is a great title for a memorable book. It is an autobiography in the form of short stories … the first three are based on her family’s south Skye stories from the first half of the 20th century and actually pre-date [her] own life … taken together this string of pearls offers fragments of a Skye woman’s background and then her journey through the second half of that century.

One of the beauties of M K MacInnes’ Close Call is its fusion between fact and fantasy and the manner in which that fusion alters over the decades …

Her later experiences in France and elsewhere are told by M K MacInnes deftly and with a sophisticated sense of plot which, as she acknowledges, she owes to her Skye family background. The two most striking stories in the collection, ‘Port Wine’ and ‘Recto Verso’ are shifted between time and place with the confidence of an experienced narrator.”

Full feature here.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the West Highland Free Press. Many thanks to Roger Hutchinson, award-winning author of Calum’s Road and The Silent Weaver.  

Port Wine

Granny’s acting awfy suspicious-like. Why on earth would she want to harm her newborn grandchild?

“… [THE woman] quietly turned the handle and crept towards the little cot that had been placed beside [the] bed. There she found the infant loosely wrapped in layers of swaddling blankets, a tiny set of fingers poking out the top … A nurse entered the room only to find an old woman dangling the newborn like a plucked chicken. When she cried out “Unhand that child immediately!”, the speechless old lady handed the infant to the nurse, then escaped through the door and down the corridor before anybody had a chance to stop her. The child’s mother had just woken up and asked what the hell was going on …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015 More details here.

As the Crow Flies

What has Iain been up to? The Old Man has his ways of getting to the truth of the sins of the son …

“… THE MAN slammed his brakes, veering to the other side of the road to avoid lurching forward and flying through the windscreen … When the car finally screeched to a halt, he sat for what seemed to him an eternity, his fingers and forehead glued to the upper rim of the steering wheel. It was only when he lifted his head that he realised he had no idea which direction he was facing. Whatever that thing was, it had pulled up and over the vehicle just in time …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015 More info here.

Chicken

The house has a little secret. What is Roddy not telling his wife?

“… MR MCDIARMID was just polishing off the last spoonful of cream from his plate when the light and soft quiet emanating from the window was interrupted by a dark shadow and a loud flutter … By the time Morag returned from the kitchen with a neat tray of teacups and a freshly made pot of tea, Mister McDiarmid was out of his seat, Iain’s arms locked around his waist …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015 More details here.

The Serpent and the Bicycle

IN THE wake of the Great War, a young Skye man experiences an inexplicable occurrence that leaves everyone with their heads scratching and his mother climbing the walls. It is an event that that will change the course of his life forever.

“… NOT EVEN the sight of Beinn na Cailleach and the Coolin mountains in a cloudless sky could soothe [the young man’s] anxiety over what the future might hold. During his eleven-mile journey from his mother Marsali’s house in Heaste, he had already narrowly avoided being clipped by a motor car in Broadford … Now approaching the abandoned churchyard, he was greeted by the sight of Blaven towering over the softer rolling Kilbride terrain. Knowing full well how distracted he was, Roderick pedalled his bicycle slowly to avoid any further mishaps …”

extract from Close Call: Short and Bittersweet by M K MacInnes, available via Amazon 13 April 2015

More details here.