I met New Zealand author Michael Botur at a poetry-reading event at Geyser Con – a week-long festival of fiction-noir held in late January. I just had to buy my own copy of True? Short Stories, his poetry is so riveting. (Expect a review of his poetry later.)
This collection of sixteen stories are so enthralling that (apart from checking out the first chapter of J P Pomare’s Call Me Evie – expect a review soon) I kept returning to them.
Sometimes repellent, they always drew me back for ‘what next’ and ‘I’ll just start that next one’.
Michael’s characters are real (in the New Zealand context we know and love); their voice is not his – it is the voice of each character. This makes the stories even more real.
Here are titles, and some teasers…
- Better than jail. “Nobody in this room could take you in a fight, but they have the power right now to rip out your mana and slice it up. They wait in silence while you try to understand…”
- Summer school
- Because I love him. “The boys who live in this pig sty have never met us and we’ve only seen them from a distance but it’s obvious we wanna party so they don’t object when we tiptoe in and stand on the scummy ripped carpet in their lounge and say Hi.”
- Schrödinger’s scoop, Don’t tell mum, Dumped after decades
- Cuffed as fuck. “There’s this real crusty-looking Hells Angel dude who won’t take his patch off and I reckon our Rachael’s pretty savvy cause she just hands him some overalls so he can cover the patch up.”
- Sword of Damacles. “People must buy black market merchandise from here all the time. The girl stops for a moment to wipe the peanut butter from a tiny three year old’s cheeks with a wet tea towel. She picks up a baby, too, and jiggles it as she comes to your car.”
- Truth or dare, Kiss you while you sleep, The people’s choice, Cloud nine, Underground, Mengistu, That tingling sensation
If you want to become the character as you read, feel your gut churn, your brain become restless for more, then you cannot go past this collection of life.
True? was published 2018, by Michael Botur The Publisher
Cover design by Michael Botur, and “Yes, Michael, it is pretty neat!”
Find his books on Amazon