This is the first of Peter’s short story books published under the title of ‘Light Reading’ – but is the second I have read. How typical of me to do everything in the incorrect order.
As per Peter’s second volume, this book is chock-full of stories – some thought-provoking, and others amusing. And it is the humour that comes through everything in this very varied collection. I particularly liked the bravery of the school children who began a campaign against corporal punishment, achieving a happy conclusion. This story is one of the longer pieces in the book, but the shorter pieces are good too – some 100-word stories, and other tales of post-military life, post-séance hallucinatory experiences (with very real and disturbing results), thoughts of hats, the weirdness of an overheard conversation, the tale of a weekend away, missionaries coming to earth, and some recollections of unexpected and charming travels.
Peter’s character emerges effortlessly within his writing, especially in his piece about the council meeting with the attendees’ silly names. Both Peter and I know from experience the accuracy of his imaginings, though Peter’s street names are much sillier and his character names more Dickensian than those I personally experienced.
Peter also includes a traditional ghost story about a journalist visiting a haunted house (with a twist ending) and other stories that are far less traditional – such as the one about the the srenum niarb, microscopic organisms who invade the brain of every new born.
But it’s the pathos of these pieces that sticks with me – the reluctant retirement of an enthusiastic boxer, the life-journey of a car, the morning ritual of a surprising old man, and, very touchingly, the sad story of story of Pompeii.
I love how Peter shares with his readers and trusts us to take care of his inner thoughts.
Well done, Peter, and keep writing.