‘Mum’s The Word’ by Valerie O’Riordan

Title: ‘Mum’s The Word’ by Valerie O’Riordan
Collection/Anthology?: Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology 3 (Bristol Review of Books Ltd.)
Date Read: 05 August 2010
Briefly: A teenager reveals the hardships of her life; a life she shares alone with an abhorrent father.
Afterthoughts: What we have here is the winning story of this year’s Bristol Short Story Prize, and what a worthy winner it is. What’s remarkable in the first instance is that this a work of flash fiction, and in the second, that it triumphed over a field of much longer literary creations. A read through of the story however, reveals exactly why it emerged as the overall winner. Hard hitting and wholly memorable, O’Riordan’s story stands as a definitive example of what it’s possible to achieve in a form that uses so few words. If you’ve ever considered flash fiction to be an ineffective storytelling vehicle, then you REALLY NEED to read this one. Outstanding!

Rating: ★★★★½

This story was read as part of a review of the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, Volume 3. If you want to find out more about this anthology then I invite you to head on over and read my ‘forethoughts’ post, and/or visit the Bristol Short Story Prize website.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).