Short Story Review: “Beating the Bounds” by Aki Schilz

3 of 5 stars.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 epitomizes the unconventional ode that manages to honor and note flaws simultaneously. [My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun . . . ] And then centuries later comes this prose poem ode to the lesser known neighborhood of London, Hanwell.

A collage of scenes and locally notable sites span the decades as echoes. Perhaps the best of Hanwell is past, perhaps it was never realized. The ode could be the voice of a tour guide, pointing out here where the Blitz wiped the slate clean to there where today’s young lovers hide in the recesses of bushes grinding in orgiastic frenzy. Nothing is worth hiding–nothing is worth showing.

How do I get to Hanwell?

Depends on what your plans are. If you are able to time-travel, I recommend a horse bus. If your intentions are nefarious or Crossrail-related, you can get here by tying a blindfold aroud your head and spining really fast, then choosing the direction in which you feel least like falling. Keep walking. In fact, run . . .

How do I get out of Hanwell?

Soul-search till you realize your soul is happier being elsewhere. Feel nostalgic for about three years, before you’ve even left. Leave. Need transport? See above. Go the other way.

This tale appears in the anthology An Unreliable Guide to London by Influx Press, London. I received my copy of this anthology directly from one of the contributing authors through
[Check out my other reviews here.]


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