The Other End of the Rainbow by David Gardiner Paperback: 256 pages Publisher: Merilang Press (29 Nov 2008) ISBN-10: 0955543037 ISBN-13: 978-0955543036 This anthology follows on from the scintillating The Rainbow Man, also by David Gardiner. An eponymous theme to the stories is the village wise man known to querulous children as The Rainbow Man. A short question and intriguing answer inspires each of the stories. My favourite pre-story piece presages the tale, Lilac Wedding with this: ‘What’s it like to be in love?’ the little girl asked as she assembled her wedding dress from his bag of rags. ‘I think it’s very similar to the early stages of measles,’ The Rainbow Man explained. Although the setup with the sage is with children, the stories are adult in emotions, nuances and topics. Each tale leaves you thinking about some aspect of life, and remains with you. From wondering what really happens in those small tents at music festivals, to the mysterious lodger’s different world in the dark outside, each story is powerful yet told in the style you’d enjoy in front of a fire. To mention a few. A Man of Letters – a poignant tale of a married man and his student falling for each other and allowing William Blake’s poetry to be their guide. As a teacher, I know colleagues and pupils in this situation, some ended in court, others remain happily, illicitly or not, together. I’m a collector of amnesia stories, and Sam is one of the best I’ve read. Waking up in hospital not knowing your name or recognising your wife is treated to layers of depth rarely found. Here’s a sample notion: ‘Vadim wondered if anybody had ever been made to feel better by being told that things could have been worse.’ I also chuckled at the ‘there’s New England and ‘real’ England. In Intelligent Design we have a simple premise that deepens profoundly making us question what is important in ‘normal’ life. Who would have thought that a genetically engineered mermaid could be so eloquent in her arguments? I can wholeheartedly recommend this collection.
David’s The Other End of the Rainbow can be found on the usual online stores or directly from the publisher, Merilang Press