Book reviews · Short stories

Seconds of pleasure by Neil LaBute | Book review


In Bristol there’s a really gorgeous place which everyone should visit if you find yourself in the city. It’s really easy to find, you just go up from the famous harbourside, follow the main road to a hilly, always busy street, to the infamous Clifton.

This road is called Park Street and it’s a great example of the God awful hills of this city. It will leave you breathless and swearing every single time, but it’s worth it. A couple of weeks ago I found myself wandering around, as many of my favourite shops are around here. There’s nothing in particular that I find really attractive around here, but it’s more of a combo of charity shops, the closest PaperChase, arts supply shops I like to dip in and a couple of random bits.

I went in the super cheap book shop and was browsing around aimlessly. I do this to find new books (which I then go and usually buy online) or just to get a bit of inspiration.

I’ll admit it, I opened this particular book because of its name: Seconds of Pleasure. I imagined carefully crafted paragraphs on the joys of mindfulness, the little moments in life that leave us in awe at the world around us.

I was wrong. And I’m really happy I was so wrong because that wouldn’t have been a book I would have bought and read so quickly.

Painting by Ashton Wallis

No, Mr. The first story my eyes settled on and couldn’t stop reading was about a man in an airport who seduces a young woman. And like so many of the stories in this collection, it was intense, riveting, full of step by step action and determination, told in a unique voice that drew me in, just as in a smooth seduction game.

I read and read, captivated by the style and then it got better and better, building up to a big finale. A twist in the road that I hadn’t expected, didn’t see coming at all. And it left me feeling giggly, sweaty, exhausted and a bit dirty. This book will have that effect on you, taking you to the dark side, to the parts of the world where people exploit each other, where mistakes happen, where intrigue and mystery come from deep inside us.

It quite got in my brain and every time I picked it up, I was transposed to a different reality. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it you want some sparks, give it a shot.

Rating: ★★★★– I loved it!


Readathon · Short stories

ReadAThon Update | First two hours

Samsa in Love, by Haruki Murakami

samsa in love

I finished this short story in about 15 minutes and it had an uplifting effect. I’d suggest to either go into it blind or, if you’ve read Kafka’s Methamorphosis, you’ll already know what it’s about after the first line. This basically turns Kafka’s premise upside down, as here we have a cockroach that turns into a man. Every word of this story has a deeper significance, every line is meaningful.

Rating: 3/5 stars (I liked it)

UFO in Kushiro, by Hamuki Murakami

UFO in kushiro

This little one was written just in the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. It follows a man whose wife gets up and leaves him without much explanation. It’s so short I shouldn’t say more. Compared to Samsa in Love, it doesn’t really have any tied ends. It only opens up questions and dives a bit into an interesting character who’s very similar to other Murakami leads: passive, detached, making decisions that are usually explained in depth in a novel, but here  the short space of the story doesn’t really allow for much detail.

It was on the edge of town, on a strange street where love hotels alternated with gravestone dealers – Haruki Murakami, UFO in Kushiro

I’m not sure why, but this was my favourite line of the story. It might be that love and death are deeply interconnected, but we don’t think of them that way as often as we should.

Rating: 2.5/5 (Too many unanswered questions)

I’m taking it slow for now and preparing to dive into some more short stories, I love the pace of taking it easy and really thinking about what I’ve read. Happy readathon!