Review of short story collection "Into the Rift" by Brett James Irvine

A collection of six short stories covering love, death, dreams and prophecy, with a tendency to the dark side of things. A taster of the styles to be found in other stories by up and coming South African author Brett James Irvine.

A poet walks along a street, searching for inspiration. A man kills a pedestrian, and struggles to live with his choice to leave the scene before anyone arrives. When the cloaked man arrives as destined, he is not at all what a believer expects. Irik lives in a world where the words we speak have physical power. James goes for a quick flight in a small aircraft. A simple tale of love and loss.

Each story explores a different topic and writing style by the author.

This was an interesting collection that contains quite a bit of variety.  The stories range from flash fiction length to solid 2,000(ish) word stories.  Though the topics fluctuate from heart-warming to outlandish, the thing that seems to tie them together is that they all have a hint of fantasy/sci-fi/supernatural.

The beautiful imagery in this collection seems to be its strongest and weakest points.  On the one hand,  I found myself enjoying the rich and colorful details Irvine presented to me.  On the other hand, that same imagery seemed to eclipse the plot at times.  So much effort would be put into the description that the story's train of thought would become blurry.  In his longer works, this would sometimes lead to a series of scene jumps where I had no idea what was really going on with the protagonist.

However, I found the breakdowns in plot only really popped up with the longer works.  Irvine's strength as a writer really comes out in the flash fiction length stories.  "Flight of Fancy" and "The Cloaked Man" were my two favorites in this collection.  In these cases, the imagery allows the reader to instantly connect to the story rather than become confused by it.

3/5 stars
Reviewed by Alain Gomez


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