A review of “The End – Fifteen Endings to Fifteen Paintings” (Edited by Ashley Stokes – Unthank Books)

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Mark Mayes

An absolutely splendid collection of stories, and a fascinating and mysterious set of paintings to go with them.

From the fifteen tales in this book, my favourites were Angela Readman’s “The Slyest of Foxes”, “Ariel” by David Rose; Ashley Stokes’ “Decompression Chamber”, and “Nowhere Nothing Fuck-Up” by u.v. ray.

Before each story we are shown a small version of one of Nicolas Ruston’s paintings – all have the words “The End” in them, although in different typography, and each has either a recognizable scene or single image (in some cases tending to the abstract or symbolic) from which the fifteen writers took their inspiration, or jumping-off point. The introduction recounts the genesis of this project in detail, and appreciating the overall endeavour, and how it came to be, became an integral part of the book, for me.

As the title implies, the stories involve endings of one kind or another…

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