“Do you know, you are the only person to have heard mum’s heartbeat from the inside?”
I was kindly gifted this book at the Swansea Blogger Collective, courtesy of the publishers, Epoque Press. All thoughts are my own.
The Wooden Hill is a collection of short stories written by an amazing debut author, Jamie Guiney, who courtesy of Waterstones Swansea, I was also able to meet when he came into the shop to do a reading, Q+A and signing. The book explores life, all the way from birth to death. This was Jamie’s inspiration behind the book and he’s done it perfectly. Every reader will relate to at least one story in the collection and I find myself switching between favourites based on my mood. I related heavily to the title story, The Wooden Hill, which Jamie said was inspired by the death of his grandmother. It put my feelings into words I haven’t been able to find. Some of the stories are heavily fictionalised but others are based on experiences Jamie has had in his life, such as buying sweets as a child which we see in Sam Watson & The Penny World Cup.
The book is split into three sections: birth, adolescence and finally, death. I found myself feeling nostalgic about his stories exploring childhood, camaraderie over his stories exploring adolescence and finding your place in the world and sadness over his stories exploring the end of life. However, this entire book is filled with love. Personal love that Jamie has for his wife and children but also universal love that we all feel throughout our life.
Overall, I don’t read a lot of short stories but after reading this collection, I’m definitely interested. Jamie managed to capture amazing characterisation and atmosphere in such a short amount of time. These are stories you can go back to at a later date and see something else in them. I highly recommend it.
Lots of Love,