Troubador Neil Armstrong in North Somerset

Released: 28/11/2017

ISBN: 9781788039468

Format: Paperback

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Neil Armstrong in North Somerset

And More Than 50 Other Short Tales for a Fast World


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A wonderful collection of ‘flash fiction’ - stories typically of less than two pages.


Including the Fish Flash Fiction prize-winning ‘Passing Over Paradise’ - described by judge Chris Stewart as a “satisfyingly artful conceit."


The visit of an astronaut to a Somerset pub, an Indian waiter struggling to live up to his review, a boy who is born without a heart, a man who waits for a taxi he knows will never come, a carpenter who seeks to profit from the fall of Troy. These are just some of the eccentric and poignant characters who inhabit these short, often very short, stories.


David Gaffney, a master of the genre, describes a flash story as “a nimble, nippy little thing that could turn on a sixpence and accelerate quickly away”. In this fine collection of ‘nimble nippy little things’, Jack Lethbridge offers us succinct but satisfying stories designed for those with fast lives, offering us something to consume and contemplate in those short quiet spaces in otherwise frantic lives - a coffee break at work perhaps, or in the dentist’s waiting room, sitting in a carwash, waiting for a pizza delivery.


As Jack says in the introductory story, “let me share my voices with you, these lives on the winds that I listen to while I wait. Keep me company for a while, and we can listen together.”

Nov 08, 2017 J.D. Dehart rated it it was amazing

I will preface this review by saying I have read similar collections from the likes of Karel Capek and Donald Barthelme. I found this book to follow similar lines successfully.

Jack Lethbridge shows us that wit and narrative can arrive in economy. There is virtue in brevity, and these stories work well in short spaces.

Could Lethbridge occupy longer chapters? I’m sure. But I appreciated the creativity he found in short snaps.

4.0 out of 5 stars
A rich and rewarding collection of 'flash' fiction for fans of the genre.
ByRichard Bondon 27 November 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

For fans of the ‘flash’ genre this is a rich and varied collection. Like good poems, they should be read slowly and savoured, and then re-read before moving on. Nearly all the stories succeed, in my view, as mini-prose pieces and there are some real gems. I particularly enjoyed the title story, a witty tale of an unlikely visitation to a Somerset pub by the first man on the moon. ‘Passing Over Paradise’ offers a similarly satisfying read - a story of love, separation, betrayal (and love again) set across two continents with five central characters told in 300 words! ‘Sky Blue’ and ‘A Bigger, Heavier Thing’ muse on the tragedy of war for those indirectly caught up in it, while ‘Whose Tomorrow?’ alludes to the freedoms that such conflict can create. Disaster is never far away in many of these stories. ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Enough’ offer bleak visions of post-catastrophe worlds while the exquisitely titled ‘Is There Anybody Not Waiting?’ leaves us in a cold sweat amid some impending calamity.
The later, longer ‘shorts’ are of more variable quality. ‘Say to Hello to Ravi’ stands out for its humorous but believable storyline of an Indian waiter unable to live up to his review, while the final piece, ‘Life in the Chalet’, a portrait of grief and hope in the aftermath of catastrophe, is a subtle nuanced story that suggests the author is looking to extend his craft into the longer format. I look forward to reading more of Jack Lethbridge.

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I liked the stories in this collection. Written about normal, everyday things, they represent a slice of life.

Good collection.

by Priya Prakash

Jack Lethbridge

Jack Lethbridge has published under different names in several flash fiction anthologies as well as being long and short-listed in competitions including the Fish Flash Fiction and Short Story Prizes, New Writer Prose and Poetry Prizes, Flash 500 Competition, Flash Fiction South West and Words with JAM ‘shortest’ story competition. He lives and works in Bristol, UK.

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