I enjoy a book of short stories as I do a buffet: a selection of offerings to savour, with some more digestible than others.
The results of an annual international writing competition open to all published and unpublished writers, the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 7 is a diverse selection intended to unsettle, inspire, move and entertain. The second and third place awardees show why they’re most deserving: a concentration camp seen through the naive eyes, drawings and games of a child in ‘Táta and Máma and Me’; and the loyalty between two brothers in ‘Debt’, their relationship bound by childhood brutalities. The disturbing end for a feathered prize and a runt-turned-beast left its unsettling mark in ‘A Peacock, a Pig’ as did UTS alumna Amaryllis Gacioppo's descriptive ‘Days’, which draws us vividly and beautifully into the memories of a mother who couldn't be tamed until her final hour: “Letting go is the hardest part, but once you do, the drowning is easy”. While I found some stories missed the mark, Gacioppo's contribution is a poignant and worthy addition to an overall collection that left me satisfied and sated.
Amaryllis Gacioppo is a 2012 Bachelor of Arts in Writing Honours graduate. She was also a contributor to the 2009 UTS Writers Anthology.