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The Atmospheric Railway

by Shena Mackay

An interesting collection of 36 stories drawn from across Mackay’s career as a writer. Some of her newer tales include passages of fantasy and end too abruptly for my taste. However the rest capture her unique view of everyday reality tinged with humour and disappointment.

Extract

Louise dinged the bell on the counter. The walls were hung with celebrity photographs signed with love and kisses. To her amazement, a hundred stars of stage and screen and radio – Dusty Springfield, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, the Everly Brothers and even Elvis had stayed at The Hertford. It must have been quite a place in its heyday. She peered to see what Elvis had written and confronted a bloated impersonator in a white jumpsuit. The sort of guy you’d find working in a chip shop. Feeling foolish, she realised that she was looking at a gallery of tribute acts.

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