“An imaginative collection full of wide eyed wonder and millennial wit.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Escape Routes is a collection of short stories from début writer and former bookseller from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, Naomi Ishiguro. As the title suggests, the stories featured in Escape Routes, are all themed in some way on the idea of escapism, freedom and flight.
The book features nine short stories, however, three of the short stories (The Rat Catcher I, The Rat Catcher II: The King, The Rat Catcher III: The New King and the Old) are actually a somewhat longer, short story which has been broken up into three sections with different narratives, and the story of The Rat Catcher is broken up by other short stories which are scattered within it.
Naomi Ishiguro’s folk tale style, short stories of escapism are all vividly described, pulling the reader deep into the story’s setting, whether that setting is Brighton’s seafront, the hectic city of London, or straight through a vortex on the page of a drawing.
The stories featured in Escape Routes are all very different so there’s definitely something in here for everyone. For me personally, the short story entitled ‘The Flat Roof’ was such a heartfelt tale with such beautiful, elaborate descriptions and a narrative tightly spun in such a short amount of words, that it really spoke to something deep within me.
Each of these fairy-tale-like short stories themed on freedom tackles the idea of escapism in a different way, whether they’re examining mental health, childhood, adulthood, coming-of-age, relationships, grief or even the deeper question of understanding the universe. Every single one of these imaginative stories perfectly balances on the edge of reality and fantasy in a way that makes them mesmerising and alluring. With such a beguiling collection of short stories, we’re excited to see what else comes from Naomi Ishiguro in the future.
Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog
Added 6th August 2020