Title: Flamingoes in Orbit
Author: Philip Ridley
A teenager stares at his reflection and sees the Milky Way. A motorbike prowls and growls like a wild animal. A whale sings a song to end loneliness.
Philip Ridley’s collection of short stories – like his two adult novels, Crocodilia and In the Eyes of Mr Fury – became an instant cult classic when first published in 1990. Magical, poetic, heartbreaking and humorous, the sequence explores childhood, family life, romantic love in all its aspects – lost, unrequited, obsessional – and does so with a haunting mixture of both the barbaric and the beautiful that has become Ridley’s trademark. In particular, these tales deal with the experience of growing up gay in a world still bristling with prejudice, and they sing and howl with the need for equality and freedom.
This edition includes two new stories, “Alien Heart” and “Wonderful Insect”, and finally completes a seminal and compelling collection first begun over 30 years ago.
So, I was encouraged to pick up this book based on the cover and the unique title. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the story, but the stories inside were all wonderful. This collection of short works is rough and raw, full of emotion, and they all fit together in one way or another to tell a truly compelling story.
Since I listened to the audiobook, I didn’t have the words in front of me to see when one story ended, and another began. The narrator, Josh Shirt, however, made smooth transitions. The characters were also well voiced.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.