Michelle Bailat-Jones

Writer, Translator, Reader

On Monday I reviewed Issue 18 of the Irish journal the stinging fly over at Necessary Fiction. Until a lovely reviewer copy landed in my mailbox (along with Fighting Tuesdays, a collection of short stories I requested for another reviewer), I had never heard of this journal. There are so many literary journals out there it sometimes feels hard to keep up, let alone subscribe to the many I would like to, but I’m very excited to have discovered this one. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the eight pieces of fiction – they were all really different – in tone or voice – but the quality of the writing and the storytelling was excellent. Here is my summary of the stories collected in Issue 18:

Whether slow-burning or urgent, these are all stories of personal emergency. Not disaster or tragedy, but the panic that follows a startling emergence. The unexpected appearance of an emotion, understanding or action. This is fiction that takes up with specific personal reactions to the unforeseen.

One of the issue’s best stories was a ‘spin-off’ from Jane Eyre that gave life to Grace Poole – the nurse who takes care of the first Mrs. Rochester up in the attic. Reading a story like this made me think of Brontë and then Jean Rhys and how good fiction lives on forever. And I can’t think of Jean Rhys without thinking of her quote about literature being this big vast ocean fed by great rivers and small rivers and that it doesn’t matter the size of the tributary because the important part is for the ocean to be fed.

Living for reading is pretty much the best hobby.

Read the full review here.

2 Responses to “Reviewed: the stinging fly issue 18”

  1. びっくり

    The Spin-off idea sounds fun. Of course, we often hear about fan-fic for the animation and science fiction genres, so it is nice to see that there is more serious “fan-fic” as well. Good luck keeping up with the journals.

    • Michelle

      I also really liked the idea of a spin-off from an old classic (without zombies of course) and Jane Eyre seems like such a great choice because of Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea – its clear that the character of Rochester’s first wife has fascinated readers.

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