Book Review

A Portable Shelter by Kirsty Logan

A Portable Shelter is a collection of short stories inspired by folktales and myth.  These stories are told by Liska and Ruth, who are awaiting the birth of their child.  They tell the stories to pass on lessons that they have learned, but each does so in secret, as they’ve both promised to only tell the child the truth, without embellishment.  And so Ruth tells her stories while Liska is at work, and Liska tells her stories whilst Ruth is asleep, whispering them in the night.  They soon come to realise that that the stories they tell contain truths that need to be shared, and that sometimes the easiest way to share such knowledge is via a story, letting the audience divine the wisdom hidden within.

These stories are fantastical in nature, and are all told in Logan’s beautiful, lyrical style.  Looking at the stories individually, I think that my favourite was The Mother of Giants, although I enjoyed them all, and I read A Portable Shelter in a single sitting.  Anyone who enjoyed Logan’s novel The Gracekeepers will love this.

I loved the little intermissions between the stories, where you get the briefest of insights into the characters of Liska and Ruth.  You gain more background throughout the stories, and it’s surprising how well you feel that you know them, despite them having so few pages dedicated to them directly.

This will be a beautiful book when it’s published (10 August 2015).  I have a PDF copy, but even from that you can tell that it’s beautifully designed.  The illustrations by Liz Myhill are stunning, and add a little something extra to the work.

Many thanks to Kirsty Logan for supplying a review copy of A Portable Shelter – I’ve already pre-ordered a physical copy for when it comes out next month.

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