I was left almost speechless after Grant Hudson wrote the following review of my short story collection, an extract of which is below.
The Mystery of ‘The Magic of Deben Market’ – What Makes This Short Story Collection Tick
J. R. R. Tolkien once said, “A story must be told or there’ll be no story, yet it is the untold stories that are most moving.” Part of the power of a good story is the background which is hinted at but never directly revealed. This is a large part of the success of David Bowmore’s collection of short stories, The Magic of Deben Market.
We are introduced to a collection of characters through a series of stories which are at first only connected by a common location: Deben Market, an invented small town on Britain’s east coast. It’s a satisfying enough introduction: the characters are rounded, believable; the dialogue sounds authentic; the setting adds elements of romance. But soon, strange things begin to happen. There’s a strand of tales based around an old fisherman, Moony Moore, for example: we meet him through another character, but pick up his story from different angles throughout the book. Suffice it to say, his story does not evolve as we might have expected — without spoiling anything, I can suggest to you that there is at least one twist in there which is not only surprising but apparently impossible.
Similarly, the other stories begin to take unforeseen turns: we meet very real characters engaged in very real problems, including an overworked chef facing alcoholism, or an unscrupulous and uncaring part-time worker illegally drawing unemployment benefits, but in each case the narrative unfolds in an unanticipated way. What began as a common thread, the seaside town of Deben Market, begins to look less like a convenient narrative tool and more like a living presence, breathing down the necks of its inhabitants. We get clues and hints of greater stories, some of which we only catch the remotest edges; we see suggestions of deeper implications and begin to detect a tapestry of events which lies just outside our comprehension as readers. Probably the most powerful of these occurs towards the end of the book, when characters who have already appeared on the fringes of other tales suddenly take on about as much serious meaning as it’s possible to pack into a short story.
The overall effect, as Tolkien states above, is a moving collection.