Last month, K.M. Elkes’ marvellous debut flash fiction collection All That Is Between Us was launched at Flash Fiction Festival in Bristol. The book is available in paperback from the online bookshop at Ad Hoc Fiction and in digital format on kindle and has received much advanced acclaim from writers Tania Hershman; Kathy Fish; David Gaffney; Nuala O’Connor; Meg Pokrass; Angela Readman; David Swann and Sophie Van Llewyn. It has already been sent off all over the world and we are delighted that Award-winning flash fiction writer Shannon Savvas, based in Cyprus, has written a new review of it below.
Jude Higgins, Ad Hoc Fiction,
Review by Shannon Savvas
Last year, I read a story by K.M. Elkes, ‘A Punch to the Heart’, and fell in love with his writing. Now this – a collection of his work in one lovely book, All That Is Between Us. Three parts, forty flash fictions, one map of the connections and disconnections of people. Without trying to be too clever or obvious, K. M. Elkes treads lightly over stepping stones of light and dark which stretch across the wastelands, minefields and pleasure parks of human emotions. His stories hint at human frailties, disappointments, regrets and triumphs all held together by unglamorous yet abiding versions of love.
In each section – ‘Parents and Children’, ‘Friends and Strangers’, ‘Couples and Lovers’, certain pieces resonate, others are simply admired and enjoyed for their form, dexterity and heart. This perhaps says more about who I am and where I am in my life than the strength of his pieces. I liked all the stories even those that perplexed me (‘The Noise was Blades’ is a puzzler), felt a connection with some of them and adored a few: ‘A Secret Weight’, ‘Dry Run’, and ‘Manhattan, 2am’ all stood out for me. I loved ‘The King of Throwaway Island’ with its pathos and humour, ‘Biological’s’ characterisation, “There are cigarettes and long nights in her voice…”, and ‘Sisyphus and the Black Holes’ with the wonderful line that stopped me in my tracks, “The midwife doesn’t tell you she slaps them so they stay angry.”
It will depend on the life you’ve lived and the heart you have which stories sing to you, but all are a joy.
Shannon Savvas is a New Zealand writer who divides her heart and life between Cyprus, England and New Zealand. Winner of Reflex Fiction (Winter 2017), the Cuirt New Writing Prize (Galway, Ireland) (March 2019), runner up in Flash500 Short Story March 2019, TSS Cambridge Flash FictionMay 2019. Published in Gulf Coast Online and print/online Issue 12 Into the Void, March/April 2019. Longlisted, shortlisted and commended here and there. Published online (Storgy Magazine, Inktears, Reflex Fiction, Fictive Dream,Cabinet of Heed, Headland Journal NZhttp://headland.org.nz (Issue 1-2015 & Issue 13-2018 and contributor to Horizons 3, Bath Flash Fiction, Bath Short Story Award, Fish, Reflex Fictionanthologies (2017, 2018)