Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Stort Story Reads: The Young Oxford Book of Train Stories (Edited by Dennis Hamley)


This is for all you train lovers from all over the world and this book is packed with crazy whirls of adventure. The Young Oxford Book of Train Stories is an anthology by British children’s author Dennis Hamley. This is a collection of versatile and quirky writings by several writers such as David Belbin – Mystery Train, Marilyn Watts – Don’t Let Go, Ruskin Bond – The Tunnel, Douglas Hill – Train of Ghosts, Marjorie Darke – Corder’s Spur, Laurence Staig – North, Adele Geras – First Class, William Mayne – A Puff of steam, Robert Dawson – Grease Monkey Jack – The Engineer, Hilary McKay – Penalty for Improper Use, John Gordon – Dust, Nicola Robinson – Train Boy to the Rescue, Alison Prince – Cabbage Soup, Linda Newberry – The Circle Game, and Dennis Hamley – Danny’s Last Duchess.

These stories have been written and packed with surprises. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself reading each one of them.Each of these stories is a favourite of mine. However some really stand out such as Ruskin Bond’s The Tunnel which has a sense of place and something indescribably beautiful. Alison Prince’s Cabbage Soup is spectacular in terms of the narration, geography and the voyage that she has described. Linda Newberry’s The Circle Game is unique and has a haunting sense of alienation and futility that nobody else has perhaps described it using a setting like hers. David Belbin’s Mystery Train is curiously unsettling while Marilyn Watts’ Don’t Let go has a twist. Douglas Hill’s Train of Ghosts takes one on a journey across one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes while Marjorie Darke’s Corder’s Spur is wonderfully narrated with characters that are very real.

North by Laurence Staig and First Class by Adele Geras are weird and the former is haunting. Robert Dawson’s Grease Monkey Jack – the Engineer has a touch of the old world and Hilary McKay’s Penalty for Improper Use is worth a read. The list goes on and I’ve not mentioned all of them. The stories are impressive for their distinct narrative styles, oddities and language style – I would definitely recommend this book.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal)

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