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Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations - Book Review

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Published September 13th 2015
Book in for some unlikely conversations with author’s debut
Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations, Andrew O'Connell, book, novel, author, writer, modern fairy tale, short stories
Andrew O'Connell has released his first book, Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations.

Perth writer Andrew O'Connell has created 12 modern fairytales, all grounded in reality, for the release of his first book. Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations features quirky and poignant stories with haunting characters – including a clown, vampire, Death, little girl, man and mannequin – that speak with a resonance beyond their bizarre situations.

They meet in unlikely circumstances and say unlikely things, in a world where the unlikely occurs and the expected is sure not to happen. Andrew said the term fairy tales wasn't an entirely accurate description of the stories because there was no unexpected magic.

"The series title Eventyr is a word that can mean both fairy tales and adventures in Danish," the English language and teacher trainer said. "I didn't want to use the English term 'fairy tales' because that makes me think of Brothers Grimm and the phrase 'short stories' makes me think of Ernest Hemingway – and I don't think my stories fit either of those genres exactly. I gravitate towards the fantastical because its symbols are the most suitable for communicating my innermost thoughts, desires and fears."

After years of writing as a hobby, Andrew found short stories, poetry and plays came more easily to him than other genres. "I tend to get short, sharp images in my mind and I tend to hear dialogue clearly in my head," he said.

"If I see a homeless person on a beach, I might imagine him having a conversation with a seagull but I won't tend to envisage his whole life story and how he got there, which is what a novelist might do. I get a clear vision of a moment and what will eventuate and I don't need hundreds of thousands of words to capture that."

Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations, Andrew O'Connell, book, novel, author, writer, modern fairy tale, short stories
Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations by Andrew O'Connell is a collection of 12 modern fairytales grounded in reality.

With Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations – the first in a series – Andrew found his main challenge was self-doubt and the persistent thought "Who would want to read these stories?", along with bringing a variety of stories together thematically.

"Fortunately, the thought 'People have got to read these stories!' was more persistent," he said. "I racked my brain for ages trying to decide on a title that would bring these stories together and justify their inclusion in the same book. In the end, the simplest answer was the best – the book is literally a collection of 12 unlikely conversations so that's what I called it."

Andrew said the final challenge was the writing itself, noting the simplicity of the stories belies the work that went into them. "I consider myself competent with the English language but it's amazing how much editing was needed to get the stories right," he said.

"It's not just checking spelling, full stops and commas – if you really care about the quality of the story, choosing the rights words is challenging. Knowing what not to write and what to leave out is also important because something that isn't communicated can imply a lot."

Illustrated by Lika Kvirikashvili, Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations (ISBN 9780994278302) is $15.99 and available at www.andrewoconnell.com.au. An e-book version is also available.

Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations, Andrew O'Connell, book, novel, author, writer, modern fairy tale, short stories
Perth writer Andrew O'Connell has gravitated towards the fantastical in his debut release Eventyr: 12 Unlikely Conversations.

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Why? It's a collection of unique stories that have taken one genre and expanded them into something else entirely.
Cost: $15.99
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