“Family Frames, the debut flash fiction collection by Alison Woodhouse, is like a treasured album of photographs you’ll want to return to again and again to discover more detail and depth. Each story is exquisitely composed. With vivid and evocative images of place and time, Woodhouse shows the distance, closeness and heartbreak within family relationships. The collection is satisfyingly framed with slightly different versions of the same story, placed at the beginning and the end. The subtle yet powerful variations in the second version emphasise one of the themes of the book – how fierce love can carry a family through anything that life brings.” Jude Higgins
“To quote from one of the titles in this fine collection, ‘home is not a place, but a feeling’. This is a moving exploration of family dynamics and the feelings that home engenders. Myths jostle with memory, siblings grieve together or alone, marriages end, parents disappoint. There is loss and sacrifice, grief and sorrow, but above all, a fierce love that binds families together. Beautiful and poignant.” Damhnait Monaghan
These flash fictions explore the power we possess to shift our relationships by examining our memories, questioning fixed narratives, revealing new perspectives. Family Frames is very raw and very relatable.
A sample flash fiction from Family Frames can be enjoyed below.
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The sparrow hawk lay on the bracken, its broken wing splayed sideways. It trembled violently when the boy picked it up.
“Can I keep it?” he asked.
“You can’t save it,” his father said. “Better to leave it. You’ll only be disappointed.”
The boy argued and threatened to cry and looked so like his mother the father couldn’t say no. They took the sparrow hawk back to the house and made a bed for it out of a box lined with straw. The boy put the box in his bedroom. When his father came to say goodnight, the boy asked what should they feed the bird and his father said in the morning they’d dig for worms.
“How will I keep him happy until then?” the boy asked and his father said the bird did not know what happiness was.
“See how frightened he is,” the boy said but his father could not look into the sparrow hawk’s black eye.