Published in Issue 24 of Visionary Tongue, Spring 2008.

Short stories and nothing but, Libbon is a full colour A4 glossy magazine featuring contributions from absolute newcomers to writing and from those who have had some publishing success already. It may be coincidental, but the stories seem to be arranged by order of the writer’s track record, and the first story, ‘A Tender-hearted Man’ by thriller novelist, Roger Morris, heads the field with a touching tale of a man whose shyness of women leads to problems –a story that could have perhaps been improved with more showing, less telling.

The magazine offers a good mix of stories, both up and downbeat, some bittersweet, like Trilby Kent’s ‘Oysters and Quinces’, which is told rather well from the point of view of a mild schizophrenic. My pick would be ‘Soho Square’ by Jan Woolf, the story of a woman whose experience as a teacher of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties becomes useful in her new job as a film examiner, only slightly marred by the confused viewpoint in places… and by her biography which reveals that the writer has been both a film examiner and a teacher of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Ah well! The story nonetheless has a satisfying denouement and made me smile.

Libbon is a nicely-presented magazine, the text easy to read and aesthetically broken up with un-credited illustrative photographs and drawings (perhaps an opportunity for an artist or two here?), and is certainly worthy of support.

Review by Donna Scott