In the Prose Bundle
Postcard Stories 2 (2020), Jan Carson. In 2015, suffering from a dreadful case of writer’s block, novelist and short story writer Jan Carson set herself the challenge of spending an entire year writing short pieces of microfiction on postcards and mailing these to friends around the world. When 2016 ended, she found it impossible to stop writing postcard stories. The stories in this collection represent the best of some five hundred postcard stories Jan has written since.
“She only knew two songs about leaving, neither of which seemed appropriate. They had already given him cake, and a gift token for B&Q which he’d asked for specifically (seeing as he’d have plenty of time now for the garden). She’d signed the card: once for herself and once, with her left hand, for Martin in accounts who was in Tenerife this week with his wife. Still, she wanted to give him some-thing special to remember her by now that he was actually leaving. At last she settled upon the Sellotape dispenser, because it was the only thing they’d held consistently in common these last seven years. She gave it to him wrapped in last quarter’s financial report. She felt warm inside like a martyred saint. She would miss him now, every time she went next door for a length of tape.”
Page count: 80 | Publication date: 6th August 2020 | Paperback ISBN: 978-1-912915-58-3
Tiny Moons (2020), Nina Mingya Powles. A collection of essays about food and belonging. Nina Mingya Powles journeys between Wellington, Kota Kinabalu and Shanghai, tracing the constants in her life: eating and cooking, and the dishes that have come to define her. Through childhood snacks, family feasts, Shanghai street food and student dinners, she attempts to find a way back towards her Chinese-Malaysian heritage.
“We must have been fourteen or fifteen, eating burgers at our favourite expat American diner in Shanghai, licking salt and ketchup off our fingers. We were best friends: two half-Chinese girls, one with hair darker than the other, one a little taller, both with our nails painted black. An older white man came up close to our table. ‘You two must be hungry girls,’ he said, raising an eye-brow and walking on. We stared after him, mouthed What the fuck. Then we looked at each other and started to laugh because we didn’t know what he meant exactly, only that it was true.”
Page count: 96 | Publication date: 27th February 2020 | Paperback ISBN: 978-1-912915-34-7
The Secret Box (2017), Daina Tabūna. On the cusp of womanhood, the heroines of The Secret Box are constantly confronted with the unexpected. Adult life seems just around the corner, but so are the kinds of surprise encounter which might change everything.
“When I started going to school, I prayed: ‘I promise to always study hard, God, and please make it so we don’t have to go to Baba’s place anymore.’ This was after another boring visit featuring rock-hard little spice cakes. Among other things, Baba had started fighting with my parents yet again. ‘You want to drive me into the grave! One day you’ll drive me into the grave!’ she slurred, upset. I didn’t understand what the argument was about, and nor did it interest me – all I wanted was for it to be over. Deals with God, which Baba had started me on, were turning against her.”
Page count: 104 | Publication date: 5th October 2017 | Paperback ISBN: 78-1-910139-90-5