My Fence is Electric and other stories is an anthology of award-winning short fiction by UK writer Mark Newman. It’s five stars from me.
I don’t often give 5 stars to anthologies, because a variation in quality seems inevitable. Not in this case: from tiny flash pieces to longer considerations, Newman skewers the human heart and captures its core in tiny moments, single words, the blink of an eye.
Open the book at any page – read a few lines – and it becomes very clear why Newman’s stories win awards. It’s rare to find such a penetrating gaze allied to such pure, impressive prose. In concert, Newman’s vision and his writing create a unique and addictive harmony. Read one of these stories, and you will read them all.
I wouldn’t be able to nominate favourites, because the list would be too long (although I’m very fond of ‘Then’, ‘Little White Lies’, and ‘Feathering’). The tender care that Newman applies to each of his characters ensures that we, the readers, are in very safe hands.
You’ll also find sentences that ring with crystal truth, words that help you reflect on your own emotions and experiences. This is a collection to treasure, one to revisit, with every story condensed to its essence, while at the same time conveyed in prose as superb as a treasured poem.
Kudos to the cover designer too – hearts in barbed wire is a perfect image.
Modern short fiction at the top of its game.