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Book Review

Book Cover

The Illiterate Ghost


Author: Alan Price
Publisher: Eibonvale Press
62 pages
RRP: £2.99
ISBN: 978 1 908125 91 0
Publication Date: 30 April 2019

Eibonvale Press publishes The Illiterate Ghost (Fictions of Fear, Absurdity and Madness) by Alan Price, with Cover Art by David Rix. This is a Chapbook of only 62 pages, incorporating 16 mostly very brief tales on wide-margin pages. Alan Price, from London, is a poet, scriptwriter, short story writer and film critic (and impending novelist). He has had a TV Film broadcast on BBC2, and won a film festival award...

I’m not a fan of Chapbooks, as you’re unable to invest any time or commitment to the prose. I prefer short stories of upwards of 5,000 words, wherein you can relate to the protagonist, and there is time and opportunity for plot development and characterisation.

Of the stories on offer here, only two are longer than four pages (sides) of fairly large print. 'Egg Timing' sees a man arrange for his ashes to be placed in an egg timer and sent to his daughter who has moved away – so that he can be closer to her. 'Okura’s Tree, William’s Bridge' follows the sexual relationship of a Western man and an Asian woman. The premise here is that if a part of the body is fixated on to the point that it disappears, then the couple would be obliged to bond in other ways more social and intellectual.

Other tales include: 'Death of a Pig', wherein a human is put on trial by a court consisting entirely of animals; and 'Swimmer', which explores the phobia of another swimmer bumping into you and potentially causing your drowning. The ideas are there, but it’s all too fleeting. Personally, I wouldn’t purchase something like this. I prefer much more meat on the bone. I have considerable respect for books and am horrified if I witness a person mistreating one in any way. This, I’m afraid, will not encourage people to cherish the wonder of a book – one of the greatest gifts there is.


Ty Power

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