Review of The Short, the Long, and the Tall by Andrew Penman of The
From your Introduction it's clear that many of these stories were written during a very difficult
time for you (and there was me, wondering when I first opened "The Short..." whether it would be
just more public school smugness) but the results have kept me hooked on my daily commute
into work in London. I think what most strikes me is how you evoke people and places so
unfashionable in current literature (post-war Burma? Characters called Caruthers?). And then
there was Cross Words, which had me sniggering like a twat on the train while other commuters
edged quietly away.
Review of The Short, the Long, and the Tall in The Copperfield
Review: Volume 10, Number 4 Autumn 2011:
The Short, the Long and the Tall
Written by Andrew McIntyre
Published by Merilang Press
Review by Carrie Sheets
This short story collection is a set of narratives about armed conflicts and the monsters that
people can become. While these stories aren't necessarily uplifting reads, there are compelling
truths in the way they show people as petty and angry. While the message was difficult, often I
had to nod my head and agree with the way the people were shown. Though I haven't lived
through the same circumstances shown in these stories, I have seen people behaving badly.
McIntyre has solid writing skills, and his stories, while difficult with their characterization of the
worst in human nature, are well told and highly readable. McIntyre's details put you in the
moment of the story, which is important, especially for short fiction. This collection is a
fascinating look into human nature, and I recommend this story collection for that reason.
Carrie Sheets is a wife, mother, writer, and editor from the cold dark north of Alaska. She is
currently writing her first novel, a historical work set in the Pacific Northwest.
Review of three stories from The Short, the Long, and the Tall
collection by Alain Gomez of Book Brouhaha:
The stories contained in this collection are more flash fiction style rather than short story; most of them
clock in around 500 words. Overall I feel that if McIntyre could tighten up his presentation just a little
more, his stories could have the potential to go from "ok" to "excellent."
For this review I am going to focus on three of the stories found in this collection: "Art for Art's Sake,
Money for God's Sake," "The Big Man," and "The Game." To McIntyre's credit, all three of these stories
were very different but, at the same time, you felt a sense of underlying connection. Respectively, the
settings in the stories go from WWII to a jungle in a 3rd world country to an at-home chess game. Each
time McIntyre delves into the idea of disillusionment. What society expects vs. what actually occurs.
As a stylistic choice, McIntyre seems to avoid using quotation marks and prefers large, block
paragraphs. As a reader, I found this to be annoying. The quotation marks I could overlook; the author
does a good job clearly expressing what is stated out loud. The block paragraphs, however, were more
of a hinderance than a help. No literary effect would have been lost if an extra indentation or two had
The plots themselves had a good pacing to them. Each time I was immediately grabbed into the action.
But each time I felt a little disappointed by the ending. Part of a short story's success (even more so
with flash fiction) is dependent on the author's ability to keep the reader thinking about their story long
after they finish reading it. The author provides the framework and then the reader puts together the
After each story concluded, I felt like everything had been a little too spelled-out. It was like every
single conclusion I could come to had already been drawn up for me so I had nothing left to mull over or
figure out. A good example would be "The Game." Essentially it's about a father cheating at a chess
game with his son in order to teach the son a life lesson. The story literally ends with the father saying
he did it to teach his son about life. Personally, I think that's the kind of conclusion a reader should be
left to draw on their own. Present me with the scenario of a father cheating and then let me fill in the
"whys." Make me work a little for the ending.
So definitely an interesting concept for a collection. The good pacing a variety of plots keeps you
engaged as you read. But, as I said in the beginning of this review, the writing could use just a little