There’s a great sense of nostalgia and loss pervading Tara Gould’s short story, The Haunting of Strawberry Water, published by Myriad Editions as a small format paperback.

Paying more than a nod to the Gothic tradition, from the very first words, we are made aware of the narrator’s longing for the mother she never knew, a ‘shadowy, indistinct figure’ who haunts an old Polaroid taken in the house in Strawberry Water in which she grew up. So strong is the narrator’s yearning for a mother figure that, as a child, she uses the only facts she knows to seemingly summon one into existence. But it’s when she has her own child that matters come to ahead, the realisation of her own deep love for her baby making her question who her mother was and why she left her. In an odd turn of events, the narrator and her family end up living in the house in Strawberry Water, and that’s when Gould’s writing really comes into its own, her evocation of place at times quite beautiful. We won’t give any more of the plot away as to do so would spoil your reading of it, but suffice it to say, there are more than a few nods to wonderful writers Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James and Virginia Woolf.

We’re great fans of the short story tradition, as we’ve said on many occasions before, and Gould effectively uses this form to create an eerie tale, exploring family, motherhood and mental illness. Recommended.


 Tara Gould | The Haunting of Strawberry Water | Myriad Editions | paperback original | £5.00

Also available as an eBook

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Acknowledgements: Thank you to the author for supplying us with a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. We’re great advocates of the short story tradition, as we’ve mentioned above, and Spotlight Books, the collaboration between Creative Future, New Writing South and Myriad Editions, is publishing a series of small-format, quite lovely little editions of under-represented writers, allowing authors, with challenging backgrounds or circumstances, to have a voice. And that’s what writing is all about, giving people a voice.

See also: ‘ ‘Damian Barr’s slice of South Africa’;Prospect beautiful, Derek Jarman’s cottage‘; ‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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