Decided to focus on completing the collections dipped into thus far, starting with David Gaffney’s ‘Aromabingo.’

March 15th – The Happiness Well

An exercise in inventiveness. The well of the title is a fascinating creation and the focus of the story is on the contamination of the well and the imminent effects on the community served by it. Gaffney creates the world without ever spoon-feeding the reader more than they need to inhabit it. The glimpse we get is, for me, a tiny utopia under threat. The frantic reading and playing of the main character at the end could be seen as fiddling while Rome burns or simply using these innocent pastimes to ward off the dark stain approaching.

March 16th – Last Chance To Turn Around.

This begins as a realistic relationship story before morphing into farce. Then, in the final paragraph, the story shifts again, with the resignation of the narrator, into sombre reflection on middle age. Reminiscence is seen as a kind of prison here, trapping both characters in their past, first metaphorically then literally. And in addition to all the deep stuff, this story is genuinely funny.