Within the world of short stories, the evocative genre of the tale is experiencing a revival. From new translations of Ovid and versions of Chaucer to Angela Carter’s modern ‘fairy’ stories, tales are suddenly fashionable. With two acclaimed novels already behind him (including the Booker-shortlisted The Underground Man, 1997), Mick Jackson now rides this wave with assurance, helped along by comparisons to cult figures Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, and Edward Gorey.
For me, the link with Burton is the most accurate; writer and film director seem to share a vision of small-town kookiness, of the torments endured by shy children and eccentric retirees, and of their flashes of genius. In ‘A row-boat in the cellar’, Mister Morris beats retirement blues by