'Spilt Milk', by Deborah Cassidy

'Spilt Milk', by Deborah Cassidy'Spilt Milk', by Deborah Cassidy'Spilt Milk', by Deborah Cassidy
The bee’s knees...

As with finishing any proper, great read, I’ll ‘sit around’ awhile; I’ll wallow in reflection of what’s just gone; spend time before moving on to something else – in a kind of regret that the book has come to an end, I guess; my glass is never half-full at these moments, something’s over, never to be repeated. Now, when it comes to a brilliant collection of short stories, I feel even worse, and that’s because the short story is a mode/genre of writing I know I’ll ever conquer. I feel envious, then.

For any great short story, I firstly tend to smile, just before the end. And by the end, I actually laugh, however briefly. And then sigh: ‘Clever.’

I did that for each one of this author’s collection. Furthermore, before all that, I’d find myself studying her style, as well as her subject matter. I became truly amazed by the ingredients.

Funny, I doubt whether Deborah Cassidy has even thought of this herself – if she has, wow, we’re really tuned in – but I couldn’t help seeing her opening piece, ‘Bee’s Knees’, as a kind of symbolic prelude for the rest of the book, as if the author has somehow managed to tune into to the busy hum of the everyday mind, as a collective, caught them in her net, from ostensibly banal situations. There is so much going on in such little space, and via such terse phraseology, it’s almost frightening – the book practically screams at you.

The subject matter is dark, real and compelling – I admit to having turned pages rather tensely; and that’s the sign of any skilfully written story. And yet depict what would generally appear on the surface to be ‘normal’ people going about their everyday ‘normal’ lives – barring, say, the likes of a young woman who prefers to call herself “cripple”, although wouldn’t allow herself to be called such.

Someone once told me that ‘normal is no more than a cycle on a washing machine. Deborah Cassidy’s Spilt Milk certainly supports the idea.


You can buy it here <<