The appearance of any new work by Tibor Fischer is a cause for celebration. Here, are two dazzling new stories that show why he is so admired. The first, Crushed Mexican Spiders, is classic Fischer. Don't be fooled by the title: the poet laureate of London grime is on home ground as a women returns home to discover the key to her Brixton flat no longer works...
Haunting images and crisp one-liners are about all that link it with the second tale, Possibly Forty Ships, the true story of the Trojan War. In a scene straight out of a Tarantino movie, an old man is being tortured, pressed to reveal how the greatest legend of all really happened. (Let's just say it bears scant resemblance to Homer: 'If you see war as a few ships sinking in the middle of the waves, a few dozen warriors in armour, frankly not as gleaming as it could be, being welcomed whole-heartedly by the water, far, far away from Troy, if you see that as war, then it was a war...')
The stories are published in a beautiful small hardback edition, each one illustrated by the work of the acclaimed Czech photographer Hana Vojáková. The book has two front covers: read one way you're in south London at night; turn it over and you’re being burned by the harsh glare of Mediterranean sunlight.