Six short stories

Neale, Derek (2016). Six short stories. Cut a long story Ltd, Folkestone, UK.



Six Short Stories, each exploring themes of family and mental health. Each embodies practice research, an artistic response to the representational challenges arising from a focus on alienated individuals, those who are nonetheless, and inevitably, in dialogue with their families and the places they sometimes call home. The stories are curated in a collection defined by this shared focus, the writing led by inquiries about character development and its apparent converse: breakdown. They directly and indirectly explore the rich vein of contrast, irony and tension between supposedly mad and sane characters, considering where the reader might figure in that tension. The stories deploy various representational modes to answer the research question: how is it possible to render a narrative of alienated consciousness as coherent and rational, in a way that allows readers to forget prejudicial labels – psychiatric or handed down - so they can join the fuller imagining of an individual? The stories are: ‘Land of Their Fathers’, ‘Erratics’, ‘Violin Lessons’, ‘The Barber’s Victim’, ‘Some Mothers’, ‘She Shot My Chimes’.

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