About Me

Tollesbury, Essex, United Kingdom
I was born in the Summer of 1969 in Dagenham, just on the border of East London. School was largely unproductive but enjoyable, setting me up for something of a wayward but interesting life! On leaving school I had various jobs including putting up stalls at Romford Market, working in a record shop, putting up ceilings, gardening and road sweeping. After resigning from an insurance company to play in a band, I found myself unemployed for two years. Then finally I got back on my feet and I've been a psychiatric nurse since 1997. I wrote A Cleansing of Souls when I was 22 years old and followed it up with Tollesbury Time Forever almost twenty years later. I started writing The Bird That Nobody Sees in September 2011 and it was released in July 2012. In terms of writing, my heroes are Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. I would also include Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits as literary influences. So that's me I guess - scruffy, happy and in love with literary fiction, music and life...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Review of Tales From The Longcroft Estate by Darren Sant

A Review of Darren Sant's Tales From The Longcroft Estate:

Tales From The Longcroft Estate consists of three tales: A Good Day, Community Spirit and Rowan's Folly.

A Good Day is the first of these tales and starts wonderfully with a description of a seagull swooping down into the estate - a very clever device, almost like a camera being lowered down from above. The story is about man on the estate who is heavily into his drugs and thinks only of the next high and how he is going to get the money to attain it. And his favourite song is The Car Alarm Blues - brilliant! He is not a bad man, just likes his 'skag.'  And when he stumbles across a situation he has to make a choice with wide-ranging consequences. A great short story about a complex character that really sets up the other two tales.

Community Spirit tells of a week in the life of a single mother who recently moved to the estate. The use of language is harsh and smart - the word 'slammed' being used twice in the same paragraph to describe a woman being thrown against a wall and a door shut moments later by the offender. People and objects are not so dissimilar it seems. The main protagonist is being pursued by a loan shark and she feels entirely alone in her plight despite there being posters around for a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and 'curtain-twitchers' everywhere. This tale has a lovely uplifting twist at the end.

Rowan's Folly is the longest of the tales and goes deeper into the characters of the wider estate. There are several interweaving threads to this tale and there is some beautiful writing here. This is a really cleverly written story that is extremely visual. The writing is tight and the characters eminently believable. And the final line is fantastic.

In summary, Tales From The Longcroft Estate is a collection that gives an insightful snapshot into the lives of people who struggle each day to get through. It is inventive and witty and has a wonderful combination of original description, great dialogue and an overwhelming feeling of empathy for the characters. I can't recommend this collection highly enough.

Tales From The Longcroft Estate is published by Byker Books and is available on Kindle here - TALES FROM THE LONGCROFT ESTATE

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