Showing the Flag – Jane Gardam (1989)


This was kindly sent from my mum from England, a recent find for her and as we share similar reading tastes, I received it via the Royal Mail. Having loved Gardam’s other works (most of which I have read pre-blog), I had looked forward to this read and I wasn’t disappointed.

This is a collection of short stories and was, as is usually the case, a mixed bag. This collection had been mostly published in various literary places during the 1980’s and, in general, most had aged just fine, not particularly dated etc. Gardam is such a great writer that even if the story and I didn’t particularly enjoy each other, at least the writing was high caliber.

I think my favorite story was the title one, “Showing the Flag”, about a young boy going abroad via a large boat who loses something important to him, but to be honest, 90% of the other stories were really good. Each had a strong narrative arc, one or two were absurdist in places, and all of them were unpredictable at the endings. A couple were very Po-Mo in how they finished and I’m ok with that as I am not such a big fan of nice and tidy conclusions all wrapped in a big red ribbon. (I enjoy wondering how the story finishes once the writing had ended…)

So a fast read with some great writing and another title off the TBR shelf. Win, win, win. 🙂

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