Ox-Tales: Air

Mark Ellingham (ed.), Peter Florence (ed.)

Ox-Tales: Air

The idea behind Ox-Tales is to raise money for Oxfam and along the way to highlight the charity’s work in project areas: agriculture in Earth, water projects in Water, conflict aid in Fire, and climate change in Air. ‘Air’ features stories by Alexander McCall Smith, Helen Simpson, DBC Pierre, AL Kennedy, Kamila Shamsie, Beryl Bainbridge, Louise Welsh, Diran Adebayo and Helen Fielding, and a poem by Vikram Seth. 4.7 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
Ox-Tales: Air

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre Short Stories
Format Paperback
Pages 160
RRP £5.00
Date of Publication July 2009
ISBN 978-1846682612
Publisher Green Profile
 

The idea behind Ox-Tales is to raise money for Oxfam and along the way to highlight the charity’s work in project areas: agriculture in Earth, water projects in Water, conflict aid in Fire, and climate change in Air. ‘Air’ features stories by Alexander McCall Smith, Helen Simpson, DBC Pierre, AL Kennedy, Kamila Shamsie, Beryl Bainbridge, Louise Welsh, Diran Adebayo and Helen Fielding, and a poem by Vikram Seth.

Read "Burnt Shadows" author Kamila Shamsie's offering

Reviews

The Observer

William Skidelsky

There's the suspicion that any artistic venture backed by an NGO will prove unbearably worthy (the prospect of reading lots of stories about developing-world drainage projects is hardly thrilling). And there's the connected fear that the contributions, whatever their subject matter, simply won't stand up artistically. Impressively, though, Ox-Tales' editors have sidestepped these pitfalls and the result is a triumph: four volumes of mostly outstanding fiction that would be worth reading whether or not an NGO was responsible for it.

14/07/2009

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The Spectator

Sam Leith

It’s a PEN quiz, a Booker longlist party, a Richard and Judy Book Club of a cast list. And each of the four wee books it has turned out is well worth the fiver asked. Oxfam, reader, is doing you a favour: not vice versa. The odd one’s under the writer’s best, inevitably. Almost all are workmanlike, not all memorable. The odd one’s terrific. In Air, which I think was my favourite of the four books, I adored D. B. C. Pierre’s story about a Trinidadian eccentric, ‘Suddenly Dr Cox’

01/07/2009

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The Sunday Times

Nick Rennison

If it did no more than contribute to its own funding, Oxfam’s initiative in launching Ox-Tales would be worth applauding. As a showcase for a fictional form that too often gets pushed to the back of the queue when critical plaudits are being distributed — and one that’s filled with fine exhibits — it deserves support on its own merits.

28/06/2009

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The Scotsman

Allan Massie

Air has good stories by A L Kennedy and Louise Welsh, but the gem, not surprisingly, is a short one by Beryl Bainbridge about a boy who hears news dating from the 1930s on his grandmother's crackly old wireless. It is rich in the throwaway revealing lines characteristic of her wholly original talent.

11/07/2009

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The Financial Times

Jonathan Gibbs

Excellent... One of the joys of collections like these is that you’re bound to come across something new. For me it was Marti Leimbach, whose “Boys in Cars” centres around a mother, her autistic son and a birthday party invite. A simple story, with a warm pay-off, it is emblematic of the series as a whole. There is very little that is edgy or difficult here. Just pick the ones with your favourite writers in, and you won’t be disappointed.

13/07/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Katy Guest

...it seems appropriate that Oxfam has published this collection of four books of short stories. Not because they draw attention to Oxfam’s good work - mostly, they ignore it. But because one comes away from them as one comes away from a good second-hand bookshop: baffled by riches and with a ballooning reading list. Divided quite arbitrarily between the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – the beautifully packaged little books act as an admirable showcase for contemporary talents.

05/07/2009

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