Tuesday 13 November 2012

SHORTS ON SHORTS - 'May Malone' by David Almond

When I made the rash decision to start this feature yesterday, as soon as I wrote my introductory post, I made for the bookshelf and started rifling through a few anthologies. But then it struck me - bloody Twitter of course! Whenever I see a link to a new story, I favourite it with every intention of going back to read it later, but of course, later always turns into next week, or thereabouts. I do get around to it eventually, promise...

Anyway, I noticed this one the other week. It was posted by Thresholds, which is home to the International Short Story Forum. If you haven't had a look yet and you're interested in short stories, please do, as it is a mine of information, including submission deadlines for publications and competitions. And you can follow them on Twitter @ShortStoryForum.

The Children's Hours: Stories Of ChildhoodAnyway, back to the story - May Malone by David Almond. Probably most famous for Skellig (which you can check out a recent review of right here by the lovely Jo), this originally featured in The Childrens's Hours Anthology in 2008 but you can read it here.

In a nutshell...

Miserable teenager Norman decides to investigate the mythical monster rumoured to be kept in the house of local lady with not-too-savoury-a-reputation, May Malone.

My favourite quote...

Ok, so I can't include my favourite quote because it's a bit of a spoiler, so I'll opt for this one instead...

Norman thought about illness and death and dying all the time. He thought about the devil and Hell. And those nightmares! Boiling oil and scorching flames and red hot pokers and devil's horns. He told the priest in confession about it and the priest sighed. Oh dear. Such fears and dreams were common enough amongst his flock. We all had such a cross to bear.

Bits and pieces I'll take away...

Oh gosh, it's all so sad. Is it supposed to be sad? I can't really say much else apart from poor Norman, just when he thinks he's gained an understanding and a new smidgen of maturity, well...

And also, green coat and read nails. I know it's slightly off the point, but is it me, or does this sound rather fabulous?

And also, I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but this is really astonishing writing. So I urge you to click on that link and read it please. I bought a copy of Skellig the other day that was way down on my TBR pile, but now I think it might be moving up a few places.

Anyway, come back tomorrow for another Shorts on Shorts for National Short Story Week.

How many times can I use the word SHORT this week? I might go for the record...


  1. I love this feature idea! I haven't heard of this site but I shall go and investigate.

    1. Thanks Viv! I adore short stories and it helps that it suits my erratic reading habits at the moment ;)

  2. This sounds amazing, Anna! That paragraph gave me the chivvers.
    Even though I've only read one of Mr Almond's books and, from the sounds of it, it's VERY different, I can already tell that he's a gorgeous writer.

    Brilliant post, love!

    ps. Thanks for shout out. Read it soon and then send me an e-mail!

    1. You must read this story Jo! And you really have to read tomorrow's, if you haven't already. I still haven't quite recovered.

  3. David Almond is a fabulous writer and a lovely man. Read him.

  4. Thank you! And I will be reading Skellig very soon