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Monday, February 24, 2020

Exercises In Control by Annabel Banks

Exercises In Control by Annabel Banks.
Published 20th February 2020 by Influx Press.
Read February 2020.

Exercises In Control is Annabel Bank's debut short fiction collection -, comprising twelve compelling and provocative stories on the subject of control, in all its forms.


I must confess that I was not a lover of short story collections in the past, preferring to immerse myself in a full-length novel, but as I have got older, I have realised what I was missing out on - and I now make sure to add a sprinkling of shorter fiction into my TBR pile each year.

My particular favourites are collections from a single author, as they are a great introduction to the breadth of an author's work and writing style, particularly when they are musings on a single subject - so Exercises In Control certainly caught my attention. Oh boy, have they (and their author) caught my attention!

These stories are glorious and mindblowing in the ways they examine different forms of control. They are punchy, violent, viscerally shocking, bizarre and often darkly humourous - drawing you along weird and wonderful paths that will leave your head spinning. 

Right from the first story, Payment to the Universe (short, sharp and, oh so, unexpected!), I knew I was going to love this collection, and raced through the book in double quick time - in fact, I made myself put it down to finish the next day in order to prolong the pleasure - which was over way too soon.

Each one left me wanting more...wanting to find out what happens next.....and they will have me thinking about them for a long time to come. 

I cannot wait to read more from Annabel Banks - more short fiction would be delightful, but I am now longing for a full-length novel. When will it be finished, Annabel? 

Exercises In Control is available now from your favourite book retailer.

Thank you to Turnaround UK, Annabel Banks and Influx Press for providing me with a copy of this book, in return for an honest review.

From the cover of the book:

‘Smart and smarting, Banks's incisive stories reveal the sharp tensions and chaotic impassivities of modern life. A triumph.’

– Eley Williams, author of Attrib.

‘We do have a complaints procedure. You will find paper and a pen (chained) to the shelf by the bin. Write your concerns and then place them in the bin. PLEASE NOTE: We do not allow items to be placed in the bin. Please do not write on the paper.’

A lonely woman invites danger between tedious dates; a station guard plays a bloody game of heads-or-tails; an office cleaner sneaks into a forbidden room hiding grim secrets.

Compelling and provocative, Annabel Banks’s debut short fiction collection draws deeply upon the human need to be in control — no matter how devastating the cost.

About the author:

Annabel Banks is an award-winning writer of poetry and prose. Her work can be found in such places as The Manchester Review, Litro, The Stockholm Review, Under the Radar and 3:AM, and was included in Eyewear's Best New British & Irish Poets 2016.

Her writing has received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, with further nominations for the Queen's Ferry Press Best Short Fictions, Blazevox's Bettering American Poetry, Best News Poets [US] and the Derringer Awards, and was recently longlisted for the Royal Academy/Pindrop Short Story Award. 

She lives in London.

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