From Light to Dark and Back Again by Allison Symes
I must immediately make clear the Allison Symes, the author of From Light to Dark and Back Again is a good friend of mine. We met at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. However, she as well as anybody knows I am nothing if not blunt! So when she sent me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review, I did tell her that is what she would get!
From Light to Dark and Back Again is a delicious cornucopia of very short stories, flash fiction. Flash fiction is difficult to write well because there are no words to spare. Some of the pieces are very funny, those include Jumping Through Hoops, about a party entertainer and The Circle of Life, about changing attitudes. Others, like The Outcome, are based on traditional fairy tales. These have unusual twists that bring them up to date and make them fun.
However, several of the stories are very dark indeed. These include Pressing the Flesh and Punish the Innocent. Allison is an expert in manipulating a twist ending that, even in these short pieces, the reader will not expect. Several of the endings are cliffhangers. These are difficult to craft in any piece of writing, especially one as short as flash fiction.
From Light to Dark and Back Again does suffer from occasional misspellings and one or two grammatical errors, but these do not detract from the triumph of this collection. I am sure they will be eradicated in the second edition.
If you are travelling or looking for a short story to read at the end of the day, I highly recommend From Light to Dark and Back Again by Allison Symes. Allison writes in various forms: fairy tales with bite, novels, short stories, poems and plays. She is based in Eastleigh and is a member of the Association of Christian authors and the Society of Authors.