Thursday 25 March 2021

Backstories by Simon Van Der Velde

 Generally, I don't read a lot of short stories.

Not because I do not enjoy them, more because other books tend to stand out for me. That is until I was contacted by Simon Van Der Velde to see if I'd like to read his book, Backstories.


The concept was unique and thoroughly intrigued me.

Fourteen tales about people we may know through the media, but not as we'd normally see them. The trick, we as the reader become the detective to try and work out just who's story is being told.

Dreamers, singers, talkers and killers; they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, but inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth?

These are people you know, but not as you know them.

Peel back the mask and see.

This is a book to grab your attention.

Short, smart stimulus for the mind.

I loved playing detective as I read. Refreshing to have a 'who is it?' instead of a 'who done it?'. It was surprising how long I spent pouring over the pages. Some of the accounts were easier to decipher than others.

Intimate stories about people you think you know 

Each individual that was chosen had an interesting past, something that seemed to kickstart their journey into moulding them into the person that they became.

Clues were placed carefully throughout each narrative.

I found myself whole heartedly engaged and I will admit to hitting Google to try and help me come up with the answers.

“On the kid’s thirteenth birthday he gave him a guitar, and probably saved his life.”

There was nothing obvious about the events chosen, they weren't necessarily the moments I would have conjured up in my mind, they were what I would describe as more personal.

It felt as though Simon must have known them to write with such detail and emotion.

Within certain chapters I definitely had a couple of eureka minutes. Might have congratulated myself on solving the puzzle.

“I’m wheelin my bike along the sidewalk, watchin all the white faces, watchin me.”

This is a book, that although short you can read multiple times and gain more answers with each read.

A collection of stories are original, intelligent and thought provoking.

I was pleased to see that there will be a second book coming out. Hopefully I've solved all of these stories before the next one comes out!

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