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Croeso i Nut Press! Welcome to Nut Press!

This is the online home of writer Kathryn Eastman.

It’s full of book reviews, chocolate tasting, adventures with squirrels, a lot of tea drinking, and a snoring pussy cat, among other things.

Oh, and very occasionally, some writing gets done.


Book review: Letters to my Husband by Stephanie Butland

It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes we only get to know a person after their death. Funerals can be revelatory affairs. I’ve been to a fair few in the past year and have always come away knowing far more about the person whose life we were celebrating than I did when they were alive. Admittedly, those same funerals have been for friends I’ve only known through shared interests, societies or classes, and thankfully not those of close family or friends, but it’s still made me think about how much I know anyone in my life, whether family member, close friend or acquaintance.

Stephanie Butland’s debut novel, Letters to my Husband, asks this same question about the person we’re closest to: our partner, spouse, husband, wife, significant other, whatever label you attach.

Dear Mike, I can’t believe that it’s true. You wouldn’t do this to me. You promised.
Elizabeth knows that her husband is kind and good and that he loves her unconditionally. She knows she hasn’t been herself lately but that, even so, they are happy.
But Elizabeth’s world is turned upside down when Mike dies in a tragic drowning accident. Suddenly everything Elizabeth knows about her husband is thrown into doubt. Why would he sacrifice his own life, knowing he’d never see his wife again? And what exactly was he doing at the lake that night?
Elizabeth knows that writing to Mike won’t bring him back, but she needs to talk to him now more than ever . . .
How much can you ever know about the people you love?

Mike may have physically drowned but I don’t think I’ll be the only reader to get the sense that Elizabeth is also drowning in her grief. Initially this makes her distant and difficult to know, unreachable as she is, and I felt as if I was watching her function in a water tank. She’s not alone in having to come to terms with Mike’s sudden death, but she certainly feels isolated in her grief. Not least because she’s the outsider here, having crossed oceans and left behind her life in Australia to move to England and live with Mike in his hometown. Read more

The Lonely Crowd launch

I can’t decide whether it was apposite or not but it was a bit of a lonely crowd who attended the launch of The Lonely Crowd on Thursday evening, and half of those there were reading. However, the low turnout didn’t stop it from being a very enjoyable evening at the Waterloo Tea Rooms in Wyndham Arcade.   

There was a welcoming glass of prosecco (or fruit juice for those of us from the Valleys who were driving) and a selection of olives and dips on each table.

But the real feast was in the variety of readings that evening.

I loved listening to extracts from short stories and a forthcoming novel for a change, as well as some poetry.

I get a real kick out of listening to authors read from their own work: when I read it again later, I have their voice in my mind and it sometimes gives me a better feel for their work.

It was great to hear Rhys Milsom read a story I’d enjoyed on the The Lonely Crowd website to kick things off and a story from Nigel Jarrett and part of his forthcoming novel from Gary Raymond, as well as poetry by Chris Cornwell but my highlights from the evening included hearing another great story from Carole Burns’ new collection, The Missing Woman*, a brand new story from Francesca Rhydderch and poems by Steph Power.  

Carole Burns reads while John Lavin listens
Carole Burns reads while John Lavin listens
Francesca Rhydderch reads from a new story she’s currently working on while Chris Cornwell and Nigel Jarrett listen
Francesca Rhydderch reads from a new story she’s currently working on while Chris Cornwell and Nigel Jarrett listen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I have to mention that The Missing Woman is published by Parthian, otherwise Susie Wild is very likely to come on here to tell you that! 😉 *waves at Susie*

 

The Lonely Crowd is a new Cardiff-based short story and poetry journal and it’s edited by John Lavin. As well as those mentioned above, the first issue has stories from the excellent Tom Vowler and Alison Moore and photographs by Jo Mazelis among others. It’s been very nicely-produced and is a handy, portable size. Just right to slip in a bag and read on the go. For more details and to subscribe, go to The Lonely Crowd website.