Verb Wellington: Micro Reviews #4

6 August 2020

Claire Mabey of Verb Wellington gives us her picks from the wonderful world of short stories.

Collage by Whiti Hereaka for her short story 'Knot Worthy'

Over the last few months I've refreshed how much I love reading essays and short stories. They are like telescopes: the view appears to be contained within a defined area but as you read they open up into ideas, places and emotions that are vast and far-ranging.

Creative New Zealand supported Verb to commission essays, short stories and reading lists over lockdown and that has led to some absolute gems. Most recently we published Whiti Hereaka's 'Knot Worthy': an utterly beautiful, inventive essay on the relationship between the crafts of knitting and writing. One of the most thrilling things about it is a hidden message... see if you can crack the code! And bookseller and writer Kiran Dass has given us her best ever reading list, a treasure trove of the books she loves, stands by and returns to.

In terms of short stories, Airini Beautrais' Bug Week is so full of sharp, clever, funny insights into human behaviour it's been a real treat to savour a story each night. I loved the title piece about a middle-aged woman obsessive about the interiors of her life (wanting nice things in a house full of destructive children) who is working toward 'Bug Week' at work and catches the eye of the entomologist . . . Airini's stories take you so close to the everyday drama of the domestic: the tradgi-comedy of us all.