Dark Wisdom by Matt Chase

A short while ago I was sent a copy of ‘Dark Wisdom’ by Matt Chase of Matt Chase International to read. It is a collection of about twenty short stories, some linked stories others entirely independent. I really enjoyed reading through the almost 150 pages. It is the first time I have ever been asked to look at anyone’s work, which made this kind of special.

The stories were based on a variety of different topics, although there did appear to be some central themes that were explored more than others. In particular Eastern religious influences pervaded the collection, along with the idea of alternative lifestyles such as communal living. Both of these are of some personal interest to me so added to my enjoyment. As I have mentioned the stories were very varied ranging from gritty, down to earth stories involving domestic abuse to surreal fantasy and those of an overtly sexual nature. They were set in times ranging from the recent past, through the present day to the future.

It was nice to have so many different stories as it kept things interesting. I would sometimes start to read a story and recognise characters as those from an earlier story, finding that the current story was either a continuation of an earlier one, or a different aspect of it. In particular I enjoyed a story called ‘The Complex Man’ and the protagonist Tim/Joel, but you will have to read the collection to find out what it is about. No spoilers here.

To conclude, I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. In particular, I liked the variety of the stories and the inventiveness of the author in his approach to them. I would most certainly recommend taking a look. In addition, the author very considerately provided adequate warning in the introduction to the appropriateness of certain stories to some age groups. This is something that I think readers should be able to expect from any responsible author.

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