BOOK REVIEW: Fifteen Minutes by Erinna Mettler

This book is a collection of short stories and boy oh boy were they brilliant! There wasn’t any that I didn’t like.

One was about a mother who lost her son to illness and she couldn’t move on without him in her life. She was searching for anything that could bring him back to her and help her escape the constant weight pulling her down into a life of suffering without her child. Then she finds an owl in the attic that she believes has the spirit of her son in it. She feeds the owls and takes care of it as if it is her own child just to feel normal again. I found this very sad but also interesting as everyone copes differently when dealing with grief. This mother chose a reality that was easier to handle than believing in her actual reality.

Another was about a girl who was born with a disability where her hand is permanently curled in towards her. She doesn’t allow this to stop her from becoming a track star. It was very inspiring and shows everyone that a disability doesn’t stop you from achieving your dreams.

My favourite story was about a girl who stops into a cafe for a job application and ends up having a nice chat with a gentleman while she waits to take her interview. The gentleman she talks to happens to be famous and she recognises him from her studies of old films in school. This story shows how one little interaction helps her realise that she needs to think for herself and that she can’t just live to please others but has to live for herself. It kind of symbolises the start of her life and breaking free from her chains.

All of the stories end with one line that just gives you chills and leaves you thinking “wow, now that is a statement”. Overall, I loved this collection of stories. They were refreshing and fun to read.

Fifteen Minutes is published by Unbound and is available here.

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Erinna Mettler

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Erinna Mettler’s first novel, the Brighton-set Starlings, was published in 2011 by Revenge Ink and was described by one reviewer thus:

‘We read this and feel as though we know Brighton intimately, just as we get to know Baltimore inside and out in The Wire.’

Erinna is a founder and co-director of the spoken word collective Rattle Tales and the newly established Brighton Prize, the city’s only short story competition. She is also an experienced tutor and mentor.

Erinna’s short stories have been shortlisted for The Bristol Prize and The Writers & Artists Yearbook Arvon Award. Her stories and poems have been published internationally in journals such as Riptide, Swamp and The Manchester Review. She has a special interest in writing for performance and her career highlight so far was having a story read by a Game of Thrones actor at Latitude Festival.

Reviewed by Erik McManus

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