Review of Old School by Dan O’Shea (Snubnose Press, 2012)
Old School is a collection of 16 flash fiction stories. Unlike many short story collections, Old School has a theme - getting old - and is organised into three parts: Middle Aged; The Golden Years; The Afterlife. The stories are all tight and punchy, with some nice expressive prose. Evenness in quality is sometimes a problem with collections. In general, Old School is strong throughout and most stories pack a solid blow or twist. There are a couple of stories that are perhaps a little too short and could have done with a tad more elaboration, but there are definitely no duds. The standout stories for me were Sheepshank and The Summer of Fishing. Interestingly, Sheepshank was longer than the other pieces and those extra words allowed some real depth to be developed. As a side issue, given the book is published in an e-format it could really do with an interactive table of contents - without it it’s difficult to jump around the book, which for a short story collection is very useful (especially when it comes to writing a review and you want to revisit some stories). Overall, an enjoyable collection of stories that are a cut above average fare.