Monday, 10 August 2009

I’ve just finished reading M.Christian’s superb collection of stories, LICKS AND PROMISES, and I’m trying to catch my breath. Such a fascinating display of twists and turns, demonstrating the themes of desire, lust, disappointment, betrayal, death and more.

There’s humour here too, in the brilliant “Regrets.” Who says Americans don’t do irony? Well, the Brits mostly, and I am one. But Christian shows that up for the silly concept that it is, in this wonderfully, intelligent piece of satire.

And there are tears in “The Waters of Biscayne Bay.” Grief and anger for a lost love and the fulfillment of a lover’s last wishes.

Christian gives us an innovative look into Edward Hopper’s great painting; NIGHTHAWKS, in his story of the same name. He teaches us, how to read a painting. Who is the woman with the red hair, in the red dress? Is the man sitting next to her partner, or are they two strangers desiring each other? Both, are lost in their thoughts. Christian subtly weaves a story around Hopper’s haunting painting. He walks us around this enigmatic couple, and we ponder about what might, or might not be going on.

There’s a lament in “The Waters of life" and a sense of loss as Christian reveals that the loved and revered art work is not what it seems. The loved one is not what he seemed, and we taste the bitter flavour of disappointment.

In “The House of the Rising Sun," a woman learns to love, and live again, after a betrayal, and in the wonderful “In Control,” just who is in control? The self important dom, who’s too mean to pay more than $50 for a sex toy, or the canny sub, who takes her pleasure, and leaves?

There’s a twist at the end of, “Her First Thursday Evening." A guy edits, and changes his lover’s first disastrous sexual experience, into one that is beautiful. But he can’t rewrite his own story; he wishes he could.

Through this wonderful collection, M.Christian shows the skill and diversity of a unique writer. He creates solid, fully rounded characters. He tells us stories that are enticing, he draws us in. He makes us laugh; very often he makes us cry. Christian loves language and words. Never, never dull, he encourages the reader to identify with and empathise with, his skilfully drawn characters. He brings us back to the simplicity of reading great stories, that stay with us long after we have closed the book.

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