Ox-Tales : Earth is one of four original collections, featuring stories by leading British and Irish-based writers. Each of the writers has contributed their story for free in order to raise money and awareness for Oxfam. The others are WATER, AIR & FIRE.
This is what caused me to pick up this book. The cover displays the names of the contributing authors. I saw ‘Ian Rankin’ and I knew what could be in store. The book was also very appealing. It is smaller than the normal book and just 200 pages. I found this book in a ‘Book Sale by Weight’ event near my house and cost me less than Rs. 10. The book hardly weighs 100 grams. After reading the book, I immediately wanted to read the others. I looked up on Amazon and Flipkart. The prices range from 450+ and 700+. So, my friends, next time there is a similar sale, do not hesitate. Rush to the place and find hidden gems like these.
The book has 9 short stories. I found them all excellent except for one. The stories, coming from such masters, is an education in short story telling.
The first story, The Jester of Astopovo, is set in Russia at an obscure railway station. It comes alive when the famous author Leo Tolstoy reaches there to get away from his wife. It is a complete media and family circus.
The story ‘Boys in Cars’ is my favorite. It talks about a boy with autism trying to become more social.
‘Lucky we Live now’ in which time goes in reverse except for the protagonists who are left with nature at the beginning of time as they lose all modern amenities. Loved the fantasy take on this.
‘Fieldwork’ by Ian Rankin is the smallest story, but very well told and complete.
‘The Death of Marat’ which is the last story and the last one I read, does leave with many intriguing thoughts and possibilities in the way the story can end.
The book is an excellent collection. I am looking to discover the other books in another sale.