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All That Is Between Us : K.M. Elkes

All That Is Between Us : K.M. Elkes


I consider myself lucky to have followed Ken Elkes’s writing for many years. In fact, I think the first story of his I ever read is included in this collection – ‘Busy Lizzy’. That story is an exemplar of his writing – emotional without being trite or mawkish. He has a deft, light touch with emotions – sometimes an almost matter-of-fact distancing that hits home all the harder for its controlled delivery.
This collection is all about relationships, split into sections: Parents and Children, Couples and Lovers, Friends and Strangers. Each section reveals things we recognise in ourselves, and often things we’d prefer to pretend we don’t recognise. The Couples and Lovers section, in particular, often made me think of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing – of hankering after a past that was, possibly, not the real past but one we wished it had been. It contains one of my favourite stories in the collection ‘Dry Run’. Taking the form of a reverse Dear John letter, it looks at the most personal end of a relationship, how lovers know when something is over. Like many other stories in the collection, it is not without wry humour, which is another of the author’s strengths.
As a parent of adult children, ‘Sisyphus and the Black Holes’ is the story that spoke to me most and made me hold my breath so I wouldn’t cry. I still cried. I cried quite a few times reading this collection, but I also smiled and laughed.

This is a collection I’d recommend to anyone who is interested in flash fiction or who is already a fan of the form. Unlike many collections, there is not a single weak story here. It really is excellent.
Date Added: 04/06/2020 by Karen J.
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