Book Review – Die Laughing

edited by Joanne Hichens (Tattoo Press) ISBN: 9780994680518

This collection of South African short stories is the latest from the Short. Sharp. Stories Awards, supported by the National Arts Festival. It reminded me of the early Roald Dahl short stories: uncomfortable enough to make you think, delicate enough to touch your emotions, and cleverly twisted to keep you on your toes.

Comedy can be a delicate line to walk – what’s amusing to one person doesn’t always tickle the funny bone of the next. I didn’t connect with all of them, but I really enjoyed the sheer variety of authors and approaches to humour. Some are light and witty; others are extremely dark and satirical. There are some brilliant twists, and some excellent writing.

If I had to pick a favourite, it would be This Is Not A Joke, Maureen by Gail Schimmel because she made me laugh at the worst possible moments, and then question why I had.

Die Laughing is not all fun and games, but laughing into the darkness sometimes brings the light. Definitely worth a read.

Judy Ward

Posted on: 26th September 2016