Home > I read it all, recommended > Red Poppies: S. P. Miskowski

Red Poppies: S. P. Miskowski

Five stories revealing the chilling reality behind the roles women play every day. A sense of dread pervades the atmosphere in these wickedly funny, dark tales of female desperation.

Red Poppies
A house cleaner becomes the muse to a crazy trophy wife and then finds her status threatened by a newcomer.

A Personal Recommendation
A bright student will do whatever it takes to pay for her education.

You Never Know
The eccentric subjects of a documentary offer more strange behaviour than the filmmakers expected.

Next to Nothing
A bitter catering company employee reaches the breaking point during a party at a wealthy client’s house.

Idiot Boy
Some siblings live large and others are born to clean up the mess. (Idiot Boy was originally published by Identity Theory.)

First, the bad news. The back cover copy for this book tells me nothing about the book or its author and needs to be substantially reworked; the layout of the front matter needs addressing; and the image on the jacket is muddy and dull, and could be vastly improved (it would help, too, if the title were easier to read). All these things do affect sales, and with self-published books being so difficult to sell it seems foolish to me that so many writers shoot themselves so firmly in the foot by producing covers and layouts which are below par.

And now, on to the writing. The short story is a very difficult form to master. There’s no room for even a single mistake: every word has to earn its keep, and in an anthology every short story has to work alone and in conjunction with the others that it shares space with.

In Red Poppies there are a few glitches in punctuation which I mostly ignored, because I found the writer’s voice so clear and compelling; some of the plots felt a little trite; the writer has a tendency to exposition which on occasion chopped into the flow of text. However, if she continues to refine and improve her work, and reads widely in the genre, I suspect we’ll see more from Ms Miskowski in the future. This a good collection, which could do with a little more polishing and a few more stories: but which nevertheless carries with it echoes of Grace Paley and Aimee Bender. I read it all, and recommend it.

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