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ISBN: 9781907605802

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“Spill was a unique collection of funny, dark and twisted stories that aren’t like any others I’ve come across before.”


Spill by Giles Ward

“A small glass bottle is filled with thick, yellowing liquid – something like melted butter. In amongst the clouding viscous, a jellied hand pushes from the inside. The fingers spread like an accidental spill.”

This short story compilation ranges from heart-warming comedies to disturbing ruminations on existence, from the bizarre to the downright macabre. Visit weird and wonderful preserved exhibits in a dusty old museum, immerse yourself in the conversation at a dinner party, or step foot into Dr Grost’s office. This remarkably eccentric, thirteen-story collection, introduces a huge variety of richly written characters that showcase Ward’s trademark twisted sense of humour.


  1. Shelf Life
  1. 4’33”
  1. Super Important
  1. X-Factor
  1. Sidmouth
  1. That Delivery Guy
  1. Kind Things for Random Strangers: An Experiment
  1. Thaw
  1. If People Feel What People See
  1. The Diagnosis
  1. Toothpaste
  1. Things That Have Been
  1. I Like Small Rooms




Spill by Giles Ward


2 Responses

  1. 5.0 out of 5 starsI particularly liked ‘Shelf Life’ – great concept
    By Clare W on 6 Jun. 2016
    Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Very different and original stories. I particularly liked ‘Shelf Life’ – great concept.

  2. By valkyrie9 on 27 Mar. 2016
    Format: Kindle Edition
    One of the chief pleasures of shot story collections is the range of settings, conflicts, and characters in the span of roughly a single novel. In Spill, Giles Ward showcases an impressive range of styles, tones, narrators, and genres in the thirteen works which comprise this assortment. It is certainly an impressive and ambitious feat. Seemingly, the only thing tying each story to each (and the title) is the occasional imagery reference of emotion or substance spilling over, and of course its major or minor consequences for each story’s plot. As such an anthology, coherence is not a necessary quality – indeed the variety keeps the reader engaged and excited for each new instalment. However, not only the events but also he writing quality of each story varies drastically, making the collection sparkle at times and drag at others.

    Of the compilation, the top five stories with the most emotional pull and storytelling finesse have to be ‘Kind Things for Random Strangers – An Experiment’, ‘If People Feel What People See’, ‘The Diagnosis’, ‘Things That Have Been’, and ‘I Like Small Rooms’. The first follows a man who counts the affirmative and negative responses he received in everyday life; it is a delightful, compelling snapshot. The second is a slightly corny but very affecting tale of a street violinist and the lives she touches. ‘The Diagnosis’ is a fascinating character study of a GP’s waiting room. The shadowy protagonist moving among shadowy museum collections in ‘Things That Have Been’ creates the best atmosphere of mystery in the collection, and ‘I Like Small Rooms’ is a bizarrely psychotic glimpse into either a dishonest or unstable narrator – one that leaves the reader wanting more.

    Unfortunately, the first three stories in the compilation are perhaps the weakest in terms of storytelling style and content. The premise of ‘Shelf Life’ – a book’s passage through the hands of many owners, each with their own secrets – is compelling, but the unsubtle prose ruins any sympathy one has for the figures portrayed. ‘4’33”’ quickly turns too affected to be engaging, and ‘Super Important’ preaches its way to a faux-folksy conclusion. The remaining five short stories – ‘That Delivery Guy’, ‘X Factor’, ‘Sidmouth’, ‘Thaw’, and ‘Toothpaste’ – fall somewhere between the compelling complexity of ‘The Diagnosis’ and the drudgery of ‘Shelf Life’.

    Despite its shortcomings, Spill is an engaging, easy-to-read book. Each story ranges in length from 5 to 13 pages – the ideal length for a quick story on the bus or before sleep – and the vast majority of the stories are well-crafted.

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