Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nothing Is Strange - Book Review


Nothing Is Strange by Mike Russell is a collection of 20 short stories, spanning various genres, but all sit under the roof of strangeness. Don't let the title of the book fool you.

Having taken a look at what several reviewers have said, I'm not alone in thinking of this as an odd book. I do recommend it however, if as a reader you don't mind being shocked or puzzled and occasionally having to read a few passages to confirm what you've just read. :D

"The Diaries of Sun City" is one of the most enjoyable pieces in the collection. It is about a man, name unknown, in the world of Sun City, where everyone keeps a diary, except him (/her). When the speaker buys a diary, they discover that the pages written at night disappear by morning. The ending is beautiful.

"Dunce" is a sad but emotional five-star story. I can't describe it but will only use one of the quotes at the end.

"I think that the tears I am crying now are the same as those. I didn't understand what was going on in the theatre and I didn't understand what was going on when the cone fell on her. I think that maybe we only cry because we don't understand what is going on. Maybe if we understood what is really going on we wouldn't cry at all, ever."

Though mostly strange, many of the stories are fun and some are deep, philosophical even, although the ending of several stories had me puzzled or surprised.

Of course, as is the case with short story collections, some pieces did not appeal to me. However, not all of those I have not mentioned here, I disliked. They are after all 20 short stories.

"The Miracle" is a glum but interesting story. For me, I felt it was a reflection of the state of indifference and coldness that many people are now in, whether regarding general accidents or on a broader scale, war.

"Escape from the Butcher's Shop" was a bit odd for me; however, it tackles the idea of confinement both physically and within a person's mind. It shows how people often confine themselves and are unable to see beyond their own knowledge and/or beliefs.

"Extraordinary Elsie" is just weird. However, it reminded me of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, while taking the waiting part to a whole new level.

"Mask Man" is a five-star story. I simply loved it, although I thought it was a bit scary at some point. It falls under the paranormal genre and was a good read.

Another five-star story is "The Unnameable Made Flesh," which – though in line with all the strangeness of the collection – is powerful and tackled a bit of politics and government oppression. Similarly, was "The Living Crown". I loved that one, which handles both government and self-oppression.

"Stan and Stan" is reminiscent of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey.

Other recommended stories in Nothing Is Strange include: "Barry and the Triplets" and "The Shining Flower".

While I can't say I have understood all of Mike Russell's stories, I can say that I have enjoyed reading many of them.

Nothing Is Strange makes odd, weird and strange lift their caps, and bow in astonishment.

You can check out "The Diaries of Sun City" here on the Nadaness In Motion, and "Dunce" on the book's official pagehere. 

Overall rating: 4.5 stars.

Note: I received a free copy of Nothing Is Strange from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About StrangeBooks/Mike Russell:

www.StrangeBooks.com is a new Indie publisher based in the UK. Their first publication is a collection of 20 mind-expanding short stories titled 'Nothing Is Strange'.
www.StrangeBooks.com believes in the transformative power of the story:
“We wish our readers the highest possible outcome from their reading experience. We believe that stories have the potential to be life-changing. So let us not limit the power of the story; let us read with an expectation of the highest possible outcome and allow every story to work its magic.”

Mike Russell, the author of Nothing Is Strange, adds this:
“For me, creating is discovering and storytelling is bringing into the world dreams that are universal. They come from a deep place; they want to be known and they want to help us. Storytelling is a way of turning the world inside out, which I believe it desperately needs.”
Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy… Nothing Is Strange!
Available from amazon here: viewBook.at/nothingisstrange