Sometimes you read a book and everything just strikes you. The writing, the plot, characters. All perfect. This happened to me while I was reading Chloe Turner’s short story collection, Witches in Eggshells.
As you can guess that this will be a glowing review but I can’t help it. This is sheer perfection in every way. The writing style is delicate, rough, tumbly and funny. The plots veer between depictions of relationships to the weird and fantastical. Here are a couple of examples of Chloe Turner’s range:
My personal favourite story was Pinata: a tale about social class struggles via a spoiled child’s 8th birthday party. It’s humorous, captures upper class parents perfectly and has an ending that will make the reader grin. Due to Turner’s way of writing, this story can also be interpreted as how adults are also bigger versions of children.
There are other stories detailing the fragility of relationships. Breaking the Glass Blowers Heart does this fantastically, mixing the metaphor of glass with forbidden love is a genius stroke and so deftly pulled off.
However when it comes to witchcraft and being creepy, Turner excels. Be it the title story about a girl having relations with a witch (at least that’s what I think she is) or hordes of sea-life (A Raft of Silver Corpses) dying on a beach or an infant with a peculiar affinity with the sea (The Wetshod Child). Lobster Scissors reminded me of the stories the grandmother would tell her grandson in Roald Dahl’s The Witches and the opening tale, Hagstone gave me gooseflesh.
What makes these stories special besides the writing style is that there’s a lot of complex layers. On the surface things may seem weird but there are usually underlying thoughts ( or am I over interpreting??) All 17 tales here are winners. Something that is rare in story collections.
What else can I say? do check out this collection. It’s been a while since I’ve read short stories which affected me so much. Never have I laughed, shivered and gawped so much. With Witches Sail in Eggshells Chloe Turner has made me look at short stories in a different way. Hopefully when you read this collection you will too!
Many thanks to Reflex Press for providing a requested copy of Witches Sail in Eggshells in exchange for an honest review.