I have heard Peter McGeehan read his work in person on a great many occasions, and his touching and humorous short stories are always worth hearing, especially when read by the man himself.
As you’d expect from Peter’s work, there’s an easy balance to the tales in ‘Light Reading 2’ – from the poignant sensitivity of ‘Ode to the Poor’ to the self-deprecating humour of ‘Knight on the Train’ (the story that kicks off ‘Light Reading 2’). The balance comes from Peter having got the mix right in the variety of styles, the variety of genres, and the variety of emotional states he transports us to. We have his unexpected poetic bent in ‘Celtic Woman Perform Fields of Gold’ and the crazy-beautiful world of ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way’ – in which revenge comes unknowingly and in an unexpected manner.
There’s a lot to this little book – badger stories, a spider story, a dream story, 100-word stories, the suffering of a witch, God meeting the devil and even six traffic light stories (in which the original concept goes off in six different directions).
I’ve always found Peter McGeehan’s writing to be engaging, and the contents of this book are no exception as Peter picks up on some interesting scenarios – the humour of talking sandals, a firing squad action taking place just five hours before the end of World War 1, homophobia, and an elderly gentleman being directed round in circles when his bin goes missing – to name just a few.
Though Peter’s humour and down-to-earth writing are the backbone of the book, I was surprised to discover the unexpected poetry and descriptive glories of some of the work within. Consider this quote from ‘Rain Forest’ – “Cold air attacks the valley, drawing a new veil of mist over the trees. One orchestra is replaced by another, the symphony of night”. Wonderful.
This is a lovely, gentle and thought-provoking book. Good on you, Peter.