Book Title: Strange Medicine
Author: Mike Russell
Publisher: Strange Books 2016
Source: Sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Page Count: 144
Genre: Short Stories (various)
Audience: Those who love short stories and a range of thoughts and emotions.
Laugh or Cry: Both
Buy? Read? Avoid?: Buy it
Summed up in one word: Healing
First Impression: I was very impressed with Mike Russell's first piece and when Strange Books asked me to read another piece I was very happy to oblige. The last outing was very brisk and 100% surreal. Strange Medicine takes MR's work to another level by applying his bizarre and meaningful style of writing to longer and more substantial stories. As the reader I am taken on a journey through MR's world and I enjoyed my time there, I recommend you come and join me.
Summary Of The Book:
The tagline for this piece of work is 'Weird and Wonderful Stories For All That Ails You' and we certainly get plenty for our time and money. Enter Mike Russell's world once again and enjoy the ride.
In Strange Medicine we get 8 stories that deal with all sorts of themes and emotions.
First we meet Anthony Tobias Bradshaw and his fear of change.
Next there is Geoffrey and Tiffany, with their strong love, bridges, walls and riddles.
We hear a phone call between Mandy and Dan.
Follow felicity into the world of mimes and their battle against the park keeper.
Meet Dennis and his one man mission to kill the universe.
A story about paranoia.
See a professor lose his mind...literally.
Finally a story about unity and a fish.
Come along and smile, laugh, cry, feel and experience all the emotions and problems we face under the surface everyday.
I was chuffed to get back into Mike Russell's material and I was not disappointed. A varied, upsetting and uplifting experience that builds on his previous work and leads on to a novel..perhaps...hint hint....
What we have here is 8 stories that vary in length between 4 and 21 pages. Russell is a craftsman of inner meaning and along with his previous effort he brings a refreshing and unique front to the short story world. Russell writing is soaked in emotion and depth. In this piece of work alone we deal with such a range of themes and emotions. Change, Love, Pain, Indifference, Risk, Mystery, Sensitivity, Laughter, Death and Catharsis to name about half of the influence that Mike Russell brings to these pages.
There are some minor qualms as every reader has with every book. The length still bothers me slightly, but that is mainly because I am greedy. I was also frustrated at parts of the text as I lost track of what meaning Russell was trying to convey at times. This meant breaking the stream of reading and that in turn meant coming out of the strange and hypnotic world that MR crafts. This is a book that should proudly sit on anyone's shelf as it is a brave and personal effort that just works and everyone who has read it agrees. Mike Russell tries something new and it breaks my heart and mends it over and over.
This is a subjective effort and take what meaning from it you will. If you are looking for an easy book that explains it all to you as you go along then look elsewhere. This is a book about healing the emotion tears in your life but it doesn't do the work for you, just gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction. My favourite piece has to be Dennis and his mission to kill the universe as it took everything from him. It is a prime example of the quality of MR's skill and intensity.
Go now and read this and please tell me what you thought, I want to talk about this book some more to those who enjoyed it as well!
Overall, Strange Medicine is a tad short for my liking but what is tightly packed within is more than enough to tide me over until Mike Russell releases more of his work. Full of meaning and emotion, with an awesome front cover to go with it. Great Stuff.
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