TagStill

Still: ‘Noise’ by James Higgerson

The photograph: an enclosed roof space, viewed through a series of triangular support frames, with lamps hanging above. You can almost hear the harsh echoes that would result from any loud noise here.

The story: Higgerson’s protagonist tries to explain to his counsellor/therapist how everything ‘got too loud’ for him. What follows is a snappy, rhythmic jaunt through the cacophony of modern life.

Links: James Higgerson’s website / interview with Higgerson on his story

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘Odd Job’ by Preeta Samarasan

The photograph: a close-up of a metal stag.

The story: while waiting for their exam results, two girls volunteer to do odd jobs at some of the local posh houses – and uncover a dark secret in one of them. This is a nicely paced story, with an effective sting in its ending.

Link: Preeta Samarasan’s website

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘Lift Under Inspection Do Not Touch’ by Richard Beard

The photograph: a closed door with a ‘Lift Under Inspection’ sign hanging from the handle.

The story: a series of anecdotes about lifts – possibly true, possibly not. Just as Beard’s piece blurs the line between fact and fiction, so it effectively portrays lifts as simultaneously useful and threatening spaces.

Link: Richard Beard’s website

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘The Tree at the Limit’ by Aamer Hussein

The photograph: a view of bare trees against an overcast sky, seen through a barred window (possibly the same window as in the ‘Corridor’ photograph.

The story: a tour of an art exhibition, interleaved with extracts from the exhibition catalogue and other relevant texts. This is a deftly constructed story, hinting that more may be going on than meets the eye. Hussein reveals the full possibilities only gradually, and even then keeps the truth ambiguous.

Link: Aamer Hussein’s website / interview with Hussein on his story

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘The Playwright Sits Next to Her Sister’ by Mary Rechner

The photograph: the top and centre of a set of stage curtains.

The story: Mousy playwright Lisa joins her glamorous sister Therese at the theatre, to see the former’s new play. This is a very short piece, but it vividly lays bare the tensions between the two sisters; and Rechner makes good use of sensory detail to convey the stuffy and intense atmosphere of the theatre.

Links: Mary Rechner’s website / interview with Rechner on her story

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘From the Archive’ by James Miller

The photograph: the main seat in Hornsey Town Hall’s council chamber, with three globe-shaped lights hanging above, and a clock behind. The edges of the photographic slide are visible in the image.

The story: This piece treats Bakker’s photograph as an archive document from the distant past. Much of its effect comes from seeing how Miller’s unidentified future writer has misinterpreted the image, and how knowledge of history and culture have become mangled over time. It’s amusing to read, but also leaves one with the nagging thought of just how easily that sort of thing could happen…

Link: James Miller’s website / interview with Miller on his story

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘The Blind Man’ by Nicholas Royle

The photograph: a box of crumpled strong-room bags, with numbered labels attached.

The story: Royle’s narrator tells how he became interested in buses as a boy, and stole some destination blinds and bus Fleetbooks. There’s a great rhythm to this piece, helped along by the short lists of bus destinations that punctuate it. And Royle tops it off with a dark twist at the end.

Link: Nicholas Royle’s website / interview with Royle on his story

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘Switchgirls’ by Tania Hershman

The photograph: four old-fashioned light switches arranged in a square, each with a label bearing a woman’s name.

The story: a monologue by a narrator whose identity is ambiguous, perhaps a female robot lamenting the loss of her sisters. Details of ‘real’ life are heightened through their transformation into Hershman’s science-fiction idiom, and the ending is especially poignant.

Link: Tania Hershman’s website / interview with Hershman on her story

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘A Rose for Raha’ by Ava Homa

The photograph: a dried yellow rose lying on top of what looks like a document folder of some sort. A sticker with someone’s name can be seen next to the rose.

The story: Raha and Farzad are young sisters; their father, a refugee, is unable to find work, and faces jail if he can’t pay the rent. The two girls play as their parents argue; Homa portrays this effectively, underscoring the family’s difficulties whilst maintaining the distance that comes with writing from Raha’s viewpoint. The titular rose acts a symbol of the family’s hope – something to keep growing in the garden, and not to remove, for fear of angering the landlord.

Link: Ava Homa’s website

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

Still: ‘Pa-dang’ by Jan van Mersbergen

The photograph: the handle of a door that’s been left ajar. A patch of the door’s green paint, next to the handle, has worn or been scratched away to reveal white underneath.

The story: this is the first English-language story by Jan van Mersbergen, the author of Tomorrow Pamplona. Told mainly in dialogue, it concerns a young man named Anton being taken home to see his family for his twenty-third birthday. It’s clear from the start that all is not well with Anton, and the choppy rhythms of van Mersbergen’s prose underline the sense of unease, up to a rather chilling end.

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology StillClick here to read the rest.

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