Ruth Brandt's thought-provoking collection of short stories really struck a chord at Fly on the Wall, so much so that one of the stories 'Hassan's Zoo' will also be available as part of our Shorts Season in pamphlet form.
Exploring families and division and winner of the Eyeland Book Award in 2018, this collection is a wide-ranging both geographically and thematically. We especially loved the story ‘Hassan’s Zoo’, a moving tale of a young boy’s efforts to tend to the starving, wounded animals of his zoo after his country is torn apart by war. He is helped by some American soldiers and finds comradeship beyond language, yet this quickly turns sour.
"The American soldiers walked backwards, sideways past him, their eyes looking everywhere all at once, taking in each twitch of a leaf, each dart of a fly. Hassan held his breath. One of them yelled out, pointed the butt of his gun in the direction of the animal stealers and they too were off. Hassan let the air stream into his lungs as he relaxed and, with the boot steps dimming, he sneaked out, knowing that his duty was to preserve what life he could."
Ruth has an MFA in Creative Writing from Kingston University and teaches at West Dean College. She was Writer in Residence at the Surrey Wildlife Trust and the National Trust’s Polesden Lacey. She has been widely published by Aesthetica, Litro, Mslexia, Neon Magazine, and many more, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Write Well Award in 2016.
To express early interest in reviewing the full collection or the 'Hassan's Zoo', please do get in touch with Isabelle Kenyon via Flyonthewallpress@hotmail.com.