Three Men on the Edge


Three Men on the Edge is a flash fiction novella by Michael Loveday featuring three men living on the edge of London.

The story of the three men – Gus, Denholm and Martyn – is narrated in three distinctive sections: Denholm – Cause for Alarm; Gus – The Invisible World; Martyn – Chewing Glass. 

“A beautifully crafted novella-in-flash, small and perfect slices of life written with skill and heart.” Kit de Waal

“In his debut novella Michael Loveday sketches with a delicate brush the colourful lives of three troubled men living on the edge of London. With poetic language and emotional precision, Loveday writes like a cartographer about the wilderness we call ‘the human heart’.” Meg Pokrass

“This is a novella full of the aches and bruises left by loneliness. It's written in fragments, like a bottle smashed during a solitary boozing session, but it coheres around the vividly captured edgeland that haunts the three men. This a heart-felt book, but its prose is controlled by a steely intelligence. It's funny, too – and moving and scary. Michael Loveday is a name to watch. He's writing a new kind of fiction.”  David Swann

Three Men on the Edge is very richly shaded and very unconventional.

R.R.P. £9.99

Sample flashes from each of the three sections of the novella may be enjoyed below.

PRE-ORDER a copy of Three Men on the Edge now using the paypal button below. [Three Men on the Edge is published at the end of June 2018. Pre-orders are dispatched in the week of publication.]


Three Men on the Edge (including P&P)


From (I) Denholm – Cause for Alarm
i. Lost Object


(Where are the fragranced pillows, where are the flying horses) Denholm balances the square box on his palm, lifts the purple lid, and inside, instead of hazelnut whirls and lemon crunches, resting in the depressions of the plastic tray, are the fifteen pairs of keys which used to open Gorgeous Gifts, no longer a going concern (where are the Union Jack beard trimmers, where are the tiger-print purses), he closes his eyes, fingers the keys, they rattle in his brain, fifty years trading on Rickmansworth High Street, Watford, Chorleywood, Bushey, St. Albans, places where mother’s business dug into Hertfordshire soil (find us the faux-diamond ballerinas, find us the Spitfire key-rings); how he cherished helping buyers turn panic to inspiration, and he drifts back to the Rickmansworth storeroom, clambering through stuffed cardboard boxes, the one-chair staffroom with its grown-up magazines (go find the Hertfordshire egg-timers, go find the invisible inks), and the smell of Grandma’s daily gammon rolls, how the shop became a home, how he memorised those cluttered shelves (go get the coin-box skulls, go get the footballing pigs), and how much he loathed the family party-trick, the loss of light as they put the blindfold in place. 

[First published in Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine]

From (II) Gus – The Invisible World
ix. Town Ditch, September


Five corpses float at the surface. Carried in the water is a dark sludge that seems to be silt: when he dips his hand, the sludge smells only of earth.

The next day many more litter the ditch. He gives up counting. They bob in the slow current, spinning as they snag against branches and leaves.

He looks closer, sees others, alive, rising to the surface, their gills beating for breath amid the black silt. Chubs, bullheads, minnows, roaches. Glinting silver scales, sandy-yellow blotches, flecks of gold, orange. The dead ones float flat on their sides.

He shivers. The bare eyes stare up, gawping blindly at him.

[First published in Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine]

From (III) Martyn – Chewing Glass
xxxi.


Sometimes Anja praises Martyn so highly she makes him feel like Superman. He has the Superman dream always the same way: not the caped crusader saving the civilised world, but Clark Kent the reporter wearing preppy spectacles and befuddled by Lois Lane—except Lois is Anja—and Anja’s nipples are made of kryptonite. But this is a dream and Lois-Anja is also somehow Lex Luthor at one and the same time—looking like Gene Hackman with his big-collared 1970s shirt—and Lois-Anja Hackman takes off Clark Kent’s glasses, kisses his brow sadly, then draws his head closer to her deadly, trembling chest.

[First published in Funny Bone: Flashing for Comic Relief]

REVIEWS

"Michael Loveday’s Three Men on the Edge (V. Press, 2018) reminds me of why I love the novella-in-flash form. This story, told in a series of fragments, drops you right into the worries and yearnings of three men living in uncertain times in a watery suburb of London. Loveday’s poetic rendering of everyday details takes the reader to a captivating, but beleaguered, town where the protagonists can be as touching and, at times, funny, as they are clueless about how to move forward in their lives. The writing follows Denholm, Gus and Martyn into the more vulnerable corners of their edgelands existence, unveiling their disappointments, perplexities and desires with poignancy, humor and an unforgettable sense of place. There is something touchingly and disturbingly recognizable in each of the protagonists. And there is something about Three Men on the Edge that makes me want to take a stroll away from the high street and find a place to sit along the canals of Rickmansworth." 

Charmaine Wilkerson, author of How to Make a Window Snake, winner of the Bath Novella-in-Flash Award 2017, review here.

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