Touch by Graham Mort.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Touch is a collection of twenty-one short stories by Graham Mort. The book opens with two beautiful examples, A Walk in the Snow, and Annik and Serge. Daniel was also beautiful, but sad.

There are some dark themes in the collection, such as animal cruelty (Ducklings) and sexual abuse (Why I’ve Always Loved Fishmongers). A good number of the stories are unhappy, even miserable (Rain), and at times even I felt there was too much description, to the point that I struggled to hold onto the thread of narrative.

The prose was honed and well-crafted throughout, but I was disappointed to find a couple of the stories didn’t go anywhere, ending almost as if the writer gave up, or ran out of time or words. The title story, Touch, stood out as one of these, coming to a jolting stop that left several loose threads dangling. As a reader, I felt frustrated at having invested time in reading it, when there was ultimately no point.

Would I recommend Touch as a collection of short stories? Well, the above probably reads like a harsh review, but yes, I would recommend it. If, like me, you’re a fan of atmospheric scene-setting and description, you will enjoy most of these stories.

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