Once Upon a Timepiece – Starr Wood
Once Upon a Timepiece is an extremely impressive debut. It’s a collection of 12 inter-connected short stories with the common theme being the timepiece of the title, a 1946 Breitling Chronomat made from rose-coloured gold. Starting with January, this novella takes place over the course of one year with each month dedicated to a different story as the watch passes through the hands of 12 different owners.
I am not a big fan of short stories – one or two stories inevitably stand out for me but these are usually spoiled by my dislike of the weaker tales. This collection succeeded where others failed as I was gripped by the whole concept as well as each integral part. The author cleverly interlinks each story with the same precision one might imagine the craftsman addressed to the making of the Breitling Chronmat. The characters of each story are strangers to each other but they share the same fragility that all humanity has, at the mercy of time. Greed, regret, ambition, envy, lust are all here with their full ugliness exposed in this thought-provoking read.
At times I was reminded of Roald Dahl’s wonderful Tales of the Unexpected and W. W. Jacobs’ classic horror story The Monkey’s Paw – equally gripping reads! This would make a great gift, especially for anyone suffering reader’s block or those unfortunate folk who don’t read very much…or indeed anyone… Wondering what the imaginative Starr Wood will come up with next.
Once Upon a Time was published by Bo Tree Books in November 2013. It’s a short but extremely satisfying read at 178 pages.