Adam Marek paints some interesting portraits in his new set of short stories: ‘The Stone Thrower’. Each story thrusts a series of clear and concise images into your hands: each unique and sensual in their own right. The stories contain varied portrayals of slightly surreal worlds and cultures, such as Banau Batong in ‘An Industrial Evolution’ or the shark ritual in ‘Santa Carla Day’. They also give a new perspective, as the subtle surrealism becomes more striking when it affects their story-worlds that are mimetic of the real world.
Each story is cleverly written, but a few stand out. One such story is ‘Earthquakes’. It is written in letter format, addressed ‘Dear Mrs Sample’. It is written in the style of a charity letter, with the main character asking for donations. The ambiguousness of the receiver works wonderfully, as you feel as if it is you who is being addressed. In this way, the story interacts wonderfully with the reader, creating a strong emotive response. Another story that stands out is ‘The Stone Thrower’, of which the book is named. This narrative brings feelings of entrapment and fear of the mysterious stone-thrower. The fast-pacing helps capture the quickly diminishing hope and growing threat. As the stories don’t all follow the same genre, the book holds a range of different story types that keep you interested.
The blurb lets the book down, I feel. The subtle surrealist elements work well within the stories. The blurb however clumsily points out generic elements, in attempt to summarise, forming a false representation. It points out how the stories base around the absurd and mundane, yet it’s doing more than that. Marek takes surreal elements and places them into our world, which is a much more tactful act than simply including them. Each story not only brings to you ‘the superhero dictator’ or the ‘intelligent clothing’ as an object, but as an essence. It brings these things to you and allows you to experience by seeing the effects in the story-world. However, with such intricate methods and events some of the stories can be confusing and not all of the concepts get through clearly.
Overall, ‘The Stone Thrower’ collection proves itself to be a world of experience. Marek crafts his stories well to deliver the essence of each of his story-worlds and characters. They are brilliant for lovers of all genres and those who enjoy to not just read, but feel every story.