Archive for the ‘Wood, William’ Category

William Wood’s A Little Book of Pleasures

November 26, 2013

A Little Book of Pleasures by William Wood

A review by R J Dent






One of the pleasures of reading William Wood’s A Little Book of Pleasures is the sheer delight one gets from reading his oil-smooth prose. It flows as gently as music and is itself an inducement to continue reading.


And then there are the anecdotes themselves. William Wood calls A Little Book of Pleasures, ‘my anthology of essays’, which is certainly an accurate description, but one that doesn’t explain that these are anecdotal essays and that whether they are object or incident-based, each one is gentle, humorous and warm – and well-told.


A Little Book of Pleasures is a collection of essays and is – in many ways, not least due to the narrative voice – reminiscent of the best work of Michel de Montaigne, whose fame rests on the Essais, a collection of a large number of short subjective treatments of various topics.


To take just a few examples, William Wood writes of the delights of ‘Log Fire(s)’, of ‘A Fountain Pen’, of ‘Cuddling Up’, and of ‘Flip-flops’. He speaks in an intimate, friendly, warm and personable manner. One is drawn in and invited to sit and experience the specific joys of each object. This effect is achieved by William Wood’s technically adept use of a second person narrator.


A Little Book of Pleasures is a highly-polished gem of a book that defies easy categorisation. Yes, it’s a collection of essays; yes, it’s a collection of anecdotes; but it’s also a collection of entertaining stories by a master story-teller, and for that reason alone it is well worth the price of admission.





From the back cover: ‘This delightful anecdotal collection, told with wry humour and a gentle, sometimes quirky style slightly reminiscent of a bygone era, contains a mixture of description and observation, with a smattering of autobiographical incident. William Wood has lived in many places of the world, is well travelled and well-written, with a keen sense of enjoyment of what he sees and experiences, and a talent for bringing that visually to the mind of his reader. The short, usually self-contained pieces make wonderful cameos both for those who do their reading in snatches, and those who will want to devour his stories in one sitting.’


Book details:


Paperback: 174 pages

Publisher: Sunpenny Publishing; first edition (15 Dec 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1907984070

ISBN-13: 978-1907984075

Product Dimensions: 1 x 13.1 x 20 cm


William Wood’s website:

Sunpenny Publishing Website:



Stories for Sale by William Wood

September 20, 2013

A review by R J Dent


Stories for Sale - WW - front


William Wood’s new short story collection, Stories for Sale, is very courageous and very entertaining in its diversity: its genres range from realism to fantasy to naturalism; from science fiction to humour to erotica… while some of the stories readily fall into no recognisable category.


Locations change rapidly: we move from Ghana to Norway to Sussex to Sudan to London to India to Ireland – and we also visit a number of places that appear on no known map.


The twenty-six stories are all short – ‘An End to Hitchhiking’ is eleven pages long; ‘Ave Vagina’ is just over two pages long, but William Wood knows that although size is important, content is more so… and all of the stories deliver far more than they promise.


‘The Patrol’ is a war story that examines the caution-heroism dichotomy and different types of bravery; ‘That Bloody Buggy’ looks at how the elderly find modern contraptions challenging; ‘A Song for India’ is a romance – in the proper sense of the word; ‘A Heroine of Telemark’ is a Norway-based erotic story, in which Marit and her sister, Lisa, dupe Marit’s husband into infidelity, in a desperate attempt to rejuvenate the husband and wife’s sexual relationship.


In ‘An End to Hitchhiking’ an English expatriate is pressured into accepting unwanted and unexpected responsibility. William Wood presents the conflict inherent within the moral dichotomy – and allows it to be resolved satisfactorily. Carnivore’ is a science fiction story set in London in 2051. Social eating is forbidden, so the two main characters, Fanny and Lenko, decide to break the law – for their own reasons, as is revealed in the ending, which is worthy of the ending of one of Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.


In ‘Bottle’, a young woman discovers that the natural world is an effective antidote to her troubled relationship; ‘Letters from a Diplomat’ is a humorous epistolary story, with each of the eight letters to a diplomat’s replacement becoming more and more preposterous and demanding. ‘For all I Care’ is gallows humour at its best. It’s a bestial American Psycho; its cackling black comedy masks a number of serious issues.


‘The Rendezvous’ is written ‘with apologies to Samuel Beckett’ and it is an imagined back-story for Waiting for Godot; ‘A Daughter and a Son’ is a story set in Nazi-occupied Norway; ‘The Happy Ever After’, ‘The Lost Bag’ and ‘The Rendezvous’ are all set in countries of the imagination.


William Wood’s Stories for Sale is a diverse, entertaining and insightful collection of stories. Some of the stories have appeared in prize-winning anthologies or in the small press magazines and journals. Stories for Sale makes these wonderful stories available to a wider readership.


Stories for Sale - WW - back


William Wood’s website:


Stories for Sale:



Stories for Sale by William Wood

A review by R J Dent