The house they couldn’t build

Short stories by B. Mamatha
Paperback, 122 pages
£7.99

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The house they couldn't build front cover

“The settings for the six stories in this collection are rundown and often desolate places—“full of empty houses and squatters and junkies and people who wouldn’t or couldn’t hear you if you were screaming blue murder” is how the narrator of one story describes them—and they foster behaviors in their characters ranging from the eccentric to the reprehensible.

In “Pork Chop,” a family living in a decrepit slum apartment falls victim to a brutal home invasion. “The Smoke” is about a man who keeps a massive Komodo dragon in an abandoned house for reasons that are more elaborately ghoulish than anyone would guess. In “Symbiosis,” a man’s relationship with a maggot-like creature pulled from a bath drain begins supplanting the social interactions in his life. Even when their experiences border on the surreal, characters respond in ways that seem believable, as in “The Mirror Trick,” in which a subservient young girl’s mirror reflection shows her repressed emotional reactions to her domineering mother.” (BookLife review)

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