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Hobson's Choice and 15 other twist-in-the-tail short stories [Kindle Edition]

Clive West
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $9.44
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Book Description

This is a collection of stories whose endings you can try to predict, but you will almost always get it wrong. From the lottery-winner who inspires enmity in his neighbour, to the fraudulent fortune-teller discovering that she has a psychic gift after all, to the down-trodden schoolboy whose ‘daydreams’ reveal a crime which he then uses all his ingenuity to expose, a huge range of characters walk through these pages. Some of them are innocent; others, like the greedy property-developer, border on evil; but most of them are human with all the foibles and self-interest inherent in that condition.

To read these stories is to share in the author’s jaundiced view of the world - a world nonetheless illuminated by flashes of humour, pathos and warmth. You will be hugging yourself with glee at the ‘comeuppance’ doled out to some characters, and wishing you could dive into the story to give a timely warning to others. You will certainly be turning the pages rapidly to see what happens …


Editorial Reviews

From the Author

I wrote the short stories while I was staying in a lymphedema clinic (you can read about this horrible illness in another book I've got for sale on Amazon - amazon.com/Lymphedema-Living-disease-ebook/dp/B007JZT16S/ref=sr_1_8). I tried to write a story every day and then, in the evening, would read them out to my wife when she phoned up to see how I was getting on.

Anyway, I'd like to tell you about the stories themselves.

A good education is a period piece and it draws on my own direct personal experience of bullying in an English public school. With its dark and sinister passageways, constant bullying, and sadistic teachers, such a place would not be somewhere I'd ever send a child (although I recognise that times have now changed).

Hobson's choice centres around my lifelong interest in how seemingly small and insignificant events can become major forks in our passage through life. It's a chilling and dark story which I personally consider to be among the strongest that I've ever written. I hope my readers find it thought-provoking.

I wrote Dear John as a cautionary account aimed at those who are busy making plans that rely upon the good intentions of others. No-one, no matter how close they are to you, will ever have exactly the same agenda as you. So, be warned.

It is said the present is the key to the past and the future and I've come to subscribe to this point of view. I firmly believe that our emotions, desires and propensity to commit acts of both good and evil, are largely unchanged in tens of thousands of years, and if our species survives that long, will be the same as they are now thousands of years hence. The technology may change but the end user and all their imperfections will not.

My two Sci-Fi stories - Lucky charm and The return of the Centaurus - both reflect this reasoning and I have steered away from describing fantastical gadgetry in favour of a study of how humans might cope in the situations that the technology gives rise to.

Although a staunch scientist and confirmed non-believer in such things, I do love a good ghost story, and I remember the eager anticipation I had for the BBC's 'Ghost story for Christmas'. This was always a production based on one of the eerie tales written by the talented M R James. An enduring smile, The racing line, Seeing is believing as well as A good education all have a supernatural air about them.

Spaghetti westerns were the success story of my childhood and Sergio Leone created some vile 'bad guys' who you knew would meet suitably unpleasant ends. The bad guy being the one with a black hat (in a metaphorical sense if not a literal one) has since been done to death and something more subtle is required for the modern reader. I've derived great pleasure from dreaming up some bad guys of my own and then finding alternative endings to the 'grand finale shoot out'. Both Every one a winner and Moving up deal with greed and what it can make people do, while Last orders, Seeing is believing and A day at the beach look at other dark facets of the human psyche.

The logical consequences of the lynch mobs which gather outside some high profile criminal trials has always troubled me. The "Hang 'em high" brigade usually want to string up the defendant long before the trial has got past the preamble stage but the whole idea of a trial is to establish guilt - something which explains the 'not guilty' option for juries. Punishing the wrong person (as has occasionally been known to happen) is not just wrong in itself, it also sends a dangerous message to the real perpetrator. This is why the making of snap and ill-informed judgements bothers me.

To show what I mean, The watcher and the much more gentle, Lost are warnings to those who would be hasty in forming such opinions. No walk in the park is another chip off this block although coming at the idea from a very different angle.

On a different note, The bench could be a stage play with the whole story being centred around an ordinary park bench. It's an idea I've been throwing around in my head for sometime now and it harks back to the way in which I perceive fate as being a tangled web of probability lines.

So, those are my tales and I hope that you derive as much pleasure from reading them as I have done from writing them. If you have, I hope you'll consider reading my full-length novel, The Road which you can also buy on Amazon - amazon.com/The-Road-ebook/dp/B007TNXZNU/ref=sr_1_6

Thank you!

Clive West

About the Author

Clive West was born in the West Country of England in the early 60's. He was educated at a traditional English public school before going on to university to study civil engineering. Over the years, he has worked as a civil engineer, tutor of maths and science, schools quizmaster, employment agency boss, and writer. His work includes a collection of short stories with twists, a full-length novel called 'The Road' about the consequences of corruption on ordinary people and an accessible job hunting interview guide (based on his years of experience as the boss of an employment agency). He has also written a book about lymphedema. This is a disfiguring, life-threatening and incurable disease he now suffers from and which his experience shows that most fellow patients have (like him) been abandoned by their respective health services. Clive now lives in a rebuilt farmhouse in the Umbrian region of Italy along with Damaris, his writer wife of 22 years and their three rescue dogs. Apart from his fictional work, Clive also writes commercial non-fiction on a variety of topics but especially relating to business and employment. You can see all the books which he has been involved with at www.anysubject.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 601 KB
  • Print Length: 171 pages
  • Publisher: Any Subject Books (March 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007KLPLUQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,126 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
(8)
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking April 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These tales are easy to read but they make you think. The title story is particularly thought-provoking and even in a strange way comforting. When we beat ourselves up about how something went wrong, how much control did we actually have over the outcome? Maybe it wasn't destiny as such but a question of 'force majeure'.

Other stories show characters taking charge of a situation, like 'Every one a winner' where a scenario that would have defeated many people is turned around through ingenious planning.

Some of the stories question our assumptions, like 'The Watcher' and 'Lost', and others show the same events from different viewpoints so as to provide a balanced assessment of culpability - 'No walk in the park' (maybe my favourite?)does this.

They're good stories but they're more than that: they all give some kind of insight and they linger long in the mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read March 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a collection of short stories that are well written with wit an intellect. Mr. West cleverly keeps the reader glued to the book. It is also a fantastic reads for those who are on the go and short for time. I have purchased both his books and cannot wait to begin reading the next one. I highly recommend Hobson's Choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a Fan of Short Stories November 30, 2012
By Just Me
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a fan of short stories, i had to pick this one up. Im not the type to read long, drawn out tales; rather, i pursue those with a twist and a short journey, as long as they deliver a satisfying conclusion. These stories were no exception, as they managed to keep me interested until the very last one. Sure, some were better than others, but all in all most of them were hugely enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, funny and rather bizarre November 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
These sixteen short stories are inspired and unique. The author's dark sense of humor and acute awareness of the frail and fickle nature of the human beast shines through. They're all quick reads and the book makes an excellent companion for traveling or waiting rooms. I particularly enjoyed "The Racing Line" with its crashing (pun intended) good description of a car race and (spoiler)car wreck. Highly recommend this collection.
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More About the Author

Clive West was born in the West Country of England in the early 60's. He was educated at a traditional English public school before going on to university to study civil engineering. Over the years, he has worked as a civil engineer, tutor of maths and science, schools quizmaster, employment agency boss, and writer.

His work includes a collection of short stories with twists, a full-length novel called 'The Road' about the consequences of corruption on ordinary people and an accessible job hunting interview guide (based on his years of experience as the boss of an employment agency).

He has also written a book about lymphedema. This is a disfiguring, life-threatening and incurable disease he now suffers from and which his experience shows that most fellow patients have (like him) been abandoned by their respective health services.

Clive now lives in a rebuilt farmhouse in the Umbrian region of Italy along with Damaris, his writer wife of 22 years and their three rescue dogs. Apart from his fictional work, Clive also writes commercial non-fiction on a variety of topics but especially relating to business and employment.

You can see all the books which he has been involved with at www.anysubject.com

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