30 December 2012

When The Sun Goes Down

~ Island Stories [Kindle Edition] ~

- Maria Strani-Potts -

  • Plugs where plugs due and there are some Corfuschia Irregulières who only follow me en blogue, which is no excuse for them to escape my rare and reluctantly tossed bouquets.

    A review on her Amazon page of Maria Strani-Potts' latest chef-d'oeuvre collection of short stories, When the Sun goes Down.

    Yes, I know I wrote it but, honestly, if we're going to wait until some other lumpen Amazon punter gets round to commenting, the sun'll've gone down and the cows come home. Loipon, I kicked off with the usual disarming declaration of interest, not just so's I could say say nice things but also to be my customary cutting and curmudgeonly self if the occasion arose.

    Here's how it went - including photos of wild cat Koutsi and my even wilder poissonnière pronger of a Spitfire younger daughter, Anna.

    "I declare an interest: I know Maria and to sit and talk to her is an enjoyment separate from the powerful solitary pleasure of reading her. She is the most unwriterly writer i know: talk is talk, writing is writing; she gets the job done.

    I still treasure her Cat of Portovecchio as one of the most stunning novels I have read.

    Barely fiction for the pulses it taps; I live in Corfu and it opened my eyes and heart to my paradise home."

    [Oh how I preferred the cover pic with the Kurt Vonnegut lookalike, not that prissy Eric Blairite cove.

    I bet I know what happened: like it was Kurt on one of those fantasy vacations

    "Sail in disguise with Corfu καΐκιs:

  • Make yourself useful and fix nets

  • Learn to roll your own

  • Grunt xenophobically at idiot tourists

  • Fend off Shirley Valentines

  • Write 'The Old Man and the Sea'"
  • Ah, there he is [left], much better.

    Anyway, as I was saying, off goes Vonnegut to do his Sleepless in Sidari thing ['Always wanted to fix that darn'd story. Ernie never quite got it right'], click goes smart-ass literary tourist's camera and next thing you know it's in some photo library where Maria picks it for the first edition.

    I mean look at it, smashing cover pic. Just the sort of dashing brigand of the brine you'd want on the front of your novel to show off to literary pals?

    "Seen the new Strani-Potts? Rather good."

    "Well, I read a rather unconvincing review in Island magazine but ... oh, I say, it does look good."

    You guessed it - it's brought to the attention of KV's agent who sends off a 'Cease, desist, or pay me €5,000' note, the foto's swapped pronto and we end up with that disappointing headmasterly type.

    By the Digressions of Dionysius! I do get off the point. Back to the review!

    "This collection is short stories and her pacing is spot-on. I've worked in the book business and touted short stories by famed novelists who just haven't pulled it off in the challenging discipline of condensing it down.

    The PR puff talks of capturing 'the atmosphere and distinctive character of several different islands in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.' Piffle. No 'capture' about it; the reader is right there.

    As with the best movie scores, you dont notice the expertise and talent because you're engrossed in the world of the story.

  • SWIMMING IN BERMUDA: Tourist meets local. They talk in perfect pitch, Strani-Potts nailing the patois and the poshois. Like an onion, dark truths unpeel.

    REHEARSING I DO: light-as-a-soufflé humour set on a French island, letting the deft words do the humour, no canned laughter, nothing rammed in your face . I wouldnt be surprised if readers who didn't 'get it' read this right thru, still enjoyed it, and wondered what had glided over their heads.

    THE EXPLOITATION OF PANOREA: familiar to all who read To Poúlima tns Pavoraías, the no-punches-pulled exposé and battle-cry against the disgraceful desecration of our environment, in this case the exploitation of 'an island in the Ionian'. No guesses.

    ON THE BEACH: Tight and merciless. Women enjoying lulling and lolling over the usual evening ouzo; suddenly a floating dead body.

    In the midst of pampered Life - the Grim Reaper paddles, red in scythe and claw. A wake-up call that Strani-Potts keeps local, makes universal.

    A remarkable collection. If I was handed them in separate sheaves, I'd not swear that they came from the same nib. Chameleon brilliance. Mark of a bred-in-the-bone writer.

    Speed the day that such a talent is spotted by some alert editorial assistant in one of the major houses and given the international readership Ms Potts deserves, and will achieve."

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