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Book Review

Book Cover

Tallest Stories


Author: Rhys Hughes
Eibonvale Press
RRP: £9.99, US $15.99
ISBN: 978 1 908 125163
Available 20 March 2013

In a welsh tavern which stands between here and there Hywel, the barman, demands tales as the price of a drink from the dead and delusional who frequent the establishment...

Tallest Stories is a new collection of short stories from author Rhys Hughes and represents his twenty-third published book.

The book is made up of sixty short stories; many involve puns or surreal twists, both within the body of the story and at its conclusion. Normal literary conventional barriers are broken and both the author and the audience, at times, become active participants. With its stories within stories, it’s akin to a juxtaposition of Monty Python and Kafka where the stories can coexist as horribly absurd and absurdly horrible.

As you get into the book the stories become self-referential, slowly building up a complete picture of the tavern and its patrons. Hughes intends to complete a cycle of one thousand stories which are all interconnected and not just in a linear form, as such Tallest Stories acts as a taster for the eventual wider work. Each tale is headed with a drawing by David Rix, who also created the book's cover.

I’m presuming that the stories may not have been written in strict chronological order, the reason I say this is that the first few stories have a surfeit of explanation regarding the tavern within which everybody finds themselves, luckily this repetition is only temporary and the stories soon settle down into their weird groove.

It’s a clever book written with wit and a good eye for a humorous turn of phrase. Read carefully, there is a lot of philosophical meat to the overall book, although if this is not your bag the stories can be read for the giggles alone.


Charles Packer

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