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In Stained Glass Lives, A Collection of Flash Fiction and Short Stories, Louise Worthington’s writing fuses poetry and prose, beauty and violence. Sometimes, tender, sometimes harsh, she explores loss, female power and the power of distorted thought, as well as creating stark portraits of family, violence and revenge.

The characters are flawed and visceral, from ghosts, daughters, mothers, wives, to taxi drivers, teachers, a frail widow and a mercenary shop assistant.

Combining astute observation with vivid imagination, Stained Glass Lives shows us stories unfolding in a multitude of colours.  From coping with the mortality of beloved parents, to dealing with troubled children, to domestic abuse, to the surreal dreams and stifled hopes we all experience, Louise Worthington weaves wonderful images and engages all of the reader’s senses.

Debbi Voisey, writing tutor and mentor, and author of the forthcoming novella-in-flash, The 10:25, due to be published in 2021 by Flash: The International Short-Short Story Press.

 

In this collection of short stories and flash fiction, Louise delights us with her dark tales, which take pleasure in the graphic images they conjure up in the reader, for we have all been there, whether we care to admit it or not.

 

From the macabre to the poignant, we are fed a sumptuous banquet of love, death, betrayal, abuse, unfaithfulness, murder, violence, suicide, despair and troubled mental states. Louise’s words wash over the reader in beautiful waves of ebb and flow. She paints such visuals with her flowing sentences of description that they take you right into the heart of each story. Her insight into the flaws of the human condition and the innermost thoughts and feelings , as well as the actions,  that human beings are capable of are both authentic and moving.

 

The collection is filled with poetic prose and beautiful descriptiveness throughout.

 

The reader will find delightfully unexpected sentences to savour and re-read, enjoying the rhythms of the words and phrases as much as the stories themselves.

 

A plethora of vibrant names, Fat Vinny, Pete and Melissa Lovejoy, Dr Eight, DCI Wine make her characters memorable and unforgettable.

 

Louise hits us with beautiful words which paint pictures for us as well as any painting:

 

“I see blood spats on the tarmac like Chinese-whispers.”

 

“Silence grows skin.”

 

“The cherry-red swimsuit makes its way to school reception like a stray audition from a very local beauty contest.”

 

“… knowing guilt and regret won’t go away with the opening of a locked door.”

 

“A comma of iron.”

 

“I wanted to escape through my own mouth.”

 

From the delightful insight into aging in ‘Visitors’, gently humorous at the same time as pulling at the heart strings, to the unexpected gruesome climax in Humming, the hilarious yet humiliating embarrassment in Red Swimsuit, the sumptuous words to complement the themes in Reflections from an Epicure, to Beauty, brief but beautiful in its poignancy, reminiscent in some ways, of  The Velveteen Rabbit, we are taken on a journey of words, phrases and themes which make up our diverse, varied, chaotic and changeable lives. 

 

Louise Stokes is a novelist and poet whose publications include Marooned, Faerie Dust and Rescued. Louise is also a performance poet, playwright and Co-Artistic Director of LouDeemY Productions Theatre, Arts and Multi-Media Company.

Heart-rending, humorous and above all authentic, Distorted Days is an exquisitely written account of the ways in which life can knock you off our feet – and how you can pick yourself up again. If you’ve experienced the fickleness of fortune, this is a book that you’ll never forget.