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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Beyond: A Short Story Collection by Alanah Andrews consists of 29 stories that validate the title of the collection through different themes, including the first chapter of Andrews’ novel, Eve of Eridu. The collection starts with John Doe, where a jailed drunkard named Toby tries to entertain himself by having a conversation with an amnesiac man in another cell. His story is disturbing though, and soon enough we have a clue of who he was and the reason for his amnesia. This is followed by the poignant Written in the Stars, about an elderly couple and how their fate intertwined with the lifespan of a space probe.
When Andrews stated in the intro that this anthology includes reverse stories, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. I finally understood when I read Interrogation (A Reverse Story). It’s deftly written and enjoyable. Beyond takes readers to various places and situations, comfortable or otherwise. Some tales are urban, realistic, humorous, cheeky, and others slightly more dramatic, tragic, futuristic, fantastical or just a nostalgic contemplation. The disparate characters are easy to relate to, despite the short length of narrative that describes them and their thoughts. There are several pieces that made me think a bit harder about the underlying messages and ponder a bit longer about their endings. The sketch-style illustration and image at the start of every piece is also the main highlight of Beyond, giving the writing a great eye-catching visual effect. All in all, Alanah Andrews gives us a commendable collection that readers will definitely enjoy, and I look forward to reading more of Eve of Eridu.