Unusual Places by Louise Tondeur, stories that fizz with modern morality

October 31st, 2018 § 0 comments

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Louise Tondeur’s short story collection, Unusual Places, is reviewed by Erinna Mettler on The Short Story. Mettler begins with some kind words for small publishers such as Cultured Llama: champions of the short form in a publishing world that often neglects the short story:

It’s not all doom and gloom, short story writers are thriving and, like all practitioners of under-represented art-forms, are finding a way through the short-sightedness of mainstream publishing. In the current climate the short story heroes are the small presses, the people who mail out lovingly produced short run paperbacks from their kitchen tables. One such press is Cultured Llama. […] They were kind enough to send me a copy of one of their newest titles, Unusual Places by Louise Tondeur.  Unusual Places begins with the foreword;

Grandma’s stories, ‘…would always start in the place where we were,’

Which illustrates perfectly the ability of short stories to connect us with a collective past and continuously add to it in the present. Tondeur’s short stories are very much in the oral tradition, they are made to be read aloud, shared around campfires and over warm drinks at Grandma’s fireside. This is not to say that they are old fashioned, far from it, they fizz with modern morality and the normalisation of previously silenced voices.

Mettler finds much to enjoy in Louise Tondeur’s use of ‘live writing’, with each story either written in or based on a place. She also mentions the authenticity of sex in the stories, plus the intriguing treatment of gender and sexuality:

There are few absolutes in Tondeur’s worlds. Several of the stories feature protagonists whose gender is not explicitly confirmed, either because the story is told in first or second person, and the narrator is simply ‘I’ (or you) or because no defining pronoun is mentioned. Sometimes this is resolved for the reader and sometimes not. It is immensely satisfying to read a book which deliberately plays with our expectations of gender and sexuality.

Read Erinna Mettler’s review here: The Short Story

Order Louise Tondeur’s for £12 plus p&p here: Unusual Places

Postage and packing is free if you order two or more books from this website.





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