A review of Shy Feet, by Frances M Thompson (and a giveaway!)
Shy Feet is a collection of short stories inspired by the author’s experiences travelling the world, from Thailand to Australia to the Amalfi Coast.
Shy Feet was born during last year’s NaNoWriMo and it is a beautifully written collection of self-published short stories. It’s clear the author has taken a lot of time and care over them and over the process of self-publishing, as she has produced a manuscript of professional quality that wouldn’t be out of place in a traditional publishing house.
Although there’s a travel thread running throughout this collection, it’s not solely focused on the backpacking lifestyle, there’s something to capture everyone’s interest. In fact, the range of characters featured helps to make this collection so interesting: we meet a little girl lost at Gatwick Airport, a business traveller who finds something new on her latest work trip, and a retired couple who may be heading for divorce.
One of my favourite stories is The Flowers Sleep Tonight, which follows two solo backpackers as they meet in different countries. The story alternates between the perspectives of each character and it’s fascinating to get deeper into the story with each passage, to see their perception of the encounter, in contrast to what the other person is experiencing. As with many of the stories, there are moments of sadness, yet the writing still betrays a sheer joy for the possibilities of life and the experience of travel and discovery.
“Back then, she was still finding her feet as a solo traveller; she didn’t yet know the liberating power of time alone in a foreign land. You can’t teach people that joy; that pure pleasure of taking time to roam the world by yourself, doing exactly what you want, what you please, what you love to do. But now she knows. Her back was flat against the back of the chair and her head was tilted up to the sun. She was in no rush. She was content.”
In Shy Feet, travel is often tied to identity: many of the characters are struggling with personal issues or family relationships, dealing with regrets and finding their place in the world. It’s difficult to weave meaning into a short story, but many of the pieces here are surprising in their poignancy.
If you’d like to check out Shy Feet, the author has kindly offered one Ten Penny Dreams reader the chance to win a copy of the e-book. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post in the box below by Friday 6th December. The winner will be contacted by email. Good luck!