Every second Tuesday by Elwood Writers

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Every second Tuesday is a collection of stories by a group of four writers that could be loosely described as a novelist, memoirist, poet and short story writer but whose work frequently overlaps those genres. The volume collects short stories and poems, often in contrasting pairs, so we have the memory of a family farewell followed by a poem about the new girl in the class; the traumatic struggle of a premature baby like a 'startled, scrawny chicken' followed by a poem revelling in the 'buttery skin of a new-born'; the story of the angry office worker about to explode, followed by the poem about the man trapped in his head, found dead in the forest. They make interesting comparisons of how stories can be picked up from different viewpoints and given expression in genres that add another dimension to each theme.

The volume includes the collection of five pieces written to commemorate the Armistice Day Centenary. One tells of the discovery of a grandfather's memoir of his time as a WW1 casualty doctor encountering the carnage of mutilated bodies; another story describes the struggle of a granddaughter to reconcile her memories of a playful grandpa with the horror of the war experiences collected in his diary; and then there are the more tender stories of a young soldier off to war, the painting of the nude Chloe his only experience of the opposite sex; and the club-footed Eddie awaiting the return of his beloved soldier brother. All are moving accounts that add to our understanding of the impact of war.

There are memories of childhood, recollected experiences, and overseas travel, the tense facing up to teenage thieves with knives, to a baby suddenly slipping over the side of a boat. There is the sharing of the pleasure found in the ordinary task of ironing, to the threatening suspense of 'The interrupter'. All in all there is an amazing variety of snippets of life contained in this slim volume that make for compelling reading.

Themes: Grief, Loss, War, Relationships.

Helen Eddy