First up an admission, I adore the short story genre. Some of my most memorable reads have been slices of fleeting fiction that cut to the chase succinctly leaving indulgently verbose prose in their wake. In this blog I've reviewed a number of great short story collections from Haruki Murakami to Stuart Evers but K J Orr's tenderly written Light Box is up there with the very best.
Light Box is a collection of 11 short stories about change, about humans in transition in one form or another. The light box itself features in a story about the challenge of an astronaut adjusting to life back on earth at home with his wife.
Each story resonates with relatable yet deeply profound emotions. From the man buying a train ticket to nowhere in order to escape from his wife's illness in The Lake Shore Limited or the recently retired man who checks into a Tokyo hotel to ask the inevitable question "Now what? in The Ice Cream Song is Strange.
"What do you do when you stop?..When you're used to a schedule that takes care of each second of the day?""
K J Orr's stories always leave you wanting more. Many of the tales in this collection could easily be adapted into longer format novels but therein lies their particular appeal - read in one go to fully appreciate the way a short story can completely alter the shape of your day. Orr takes us on a journey far across the globe yet never far from the universal human condition. Quite simply, Orr understands what is means to read brilliantly constructed stories and carefully crafted prose - this is a collections of short stories for readers.
Light Box is a superb debut novel which Daunt Books must be seriously commended for publishing. I literally cannot wait to read more work from K J Orr.