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news and reviews
December 2013

Bonnie ZoBell has reviewed My Mother Was An Upright Piano on her website : "These are more on the short story than the prose poem end of flash fiction. Even though they’re short even for flash fiction, Hershman manages to tell full tales, uncanny for their insight into the human condition."

Muriel Maufroy has given My Mother Was An Upright Piano a delightful review over on the Gladstone's Library blog: "As a whole, one could say that a wind of freedom sweeps through those pages in which science and poetry stumble into each other and tantalizing shifts of perception expose our secret thoughts and feelings, some we did not even know we had."

April 2013
Kerri Shadid says of My Mother Was An Upright Piano in her review in the May 2013 issue of World Literature Today: "Her presentation of the tragedy and the oddity of our human lives is the typed equivalent of a performance artist at MOMA: strange, unfamiliar, captivating. The universe’s dark energy palpitates on Hershman’s pages; she gives emptiness form. Characters struggle to communicate, to make themselves known to others. Hopes for the world to be other than it is are met with silence. Longing blankets the text. Sentences stop before they reach their conclusion, words omitted by the author in sympathy with the reticence of her fictional creations. The unsaid contains both dagger and salve, and Hershman’s silences both break and heal the heart." Read the full review here>>

Martin Macaulay reviews My Mother Was An Upright Piano over at Sabotage Reviews, where my book is shortlisted for their Saboteur awards. He says: " It’s a solid, unbreakable and inspiring collection. Hershman creates worlds with depth and heart. She shows us lives soaked in loss; some with glimpses of hope, others dystopian. Reading My Mother… is a bit like discovering a boxful of unfamiliar photographs in a curiosity shop. You study each picture, try to decipher the look on the subject’s face, or work out what that object is in the foreground. Hershman pulls you in to these beautifully condensed fictions." Read the full review >>

Jan 2013
Deborah Brooks reviews My Mother Was An Upright Piano in the new issue of Jewish Renaissance magazine, saying "
These ... are stories that will stand rereading as obvious thought has gone into each word and thus every sentence deserves to be savoured."

I am delighted that my collection is reviewed in the latest issue of Flash: The International Short Story Story magazine, in the excellent company of Nick Parker's The Exploding Boy, the Flash Fiction Day anthology Jawbreakers (in which my story Stopwatching gets a kind mention) and collections by Etgar Keret and Jon McGregor's. In her review of My Mother Was An Upright Piano Louisa Yates says:  "A worthy successor to her 2008 debut... MMWAUP is at its strongest when dealing with matter, whether it takes the form of Google hits, neutrinos or moth's wings... As an assemblage of particles and people, Hershman's latest collection is a refreshing take on the brief meetings, one-off connections and partial viewpoints that are so often the subject of very short fictions."

Dec 2012

In her review of My Mother Was An Upright Piano in Necessary Fiction Michelle Bailat-Jones  says:  "The diversity of subject on offer in the collection is brilliant, but what really impresses is how Hershman succeeds in establishing longer, more complicated narratives within each short piece. These aren’t incomplete excerpts; the reader doesn’t want or need any of these fictions to go on longer or somehow become another form entirely. But again and again, out of a very short piece, a fuller story blooms." Read her full review here.

Nov 2012
I'm thrilled and honoured that the Nov 16th edition of the Times Literary Supplement includes a review of my book, by Hal Jensen, who says: "Hershman's quirky observations, often funny, focus on small-scale human oddities, anxieties and misunderstandings... This informal style seems intended to capture - as Shelley said we never could - the moment when the fading coal of the imagination is awakened to transitory brightness." You can see the full review on my blog.

In her review of My Mother Was An Upright Piano in The Bookbag, Ani Johnson says: " It's said that the art of short-story writing is totally different from that of novels as the writer only has ten or so pages to accomplish what others do in two to three hundred. Imagine, therefore, telling an entire story in prose conveying depth and meaning in fewer words than this review. It may be difficult but, apparently, not downright impossible as Tania Hershman has nailed it with honours". Read her full five star review here.

In her review of My Mother Was An Upright Piano in the new issue (No. 80) of the Frogmore Papers, Alexandra Loske says: " It seems that Hershman has achieved two things here: She has perfected the art of the very short short story, making it appear utterly appealing and perhaps one of the most appropriate forms of creative writing of our age. She has also managed to form a bridge between poetry and prose. At times it feels as if one is reading a very well constructed, witty, moving long poem, without the boring bits. Excellent."

September 2012
I'm thrilled with two new reviews of My Mother Was An Upright Piano: On the Thresholds Short Story Forum, Vicki Heath writes: "every word is perfectly placed as she explores the offbeat world we live in." Read the full review here. And Jon Pinnock calls MMWAUP " the work of a grown-up writer who has gained the confidence to let her muse off the leash and to follow it wherever it goes, however unexpected that turns out to be. " Read his review here.

Three of the fictions from My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions are featured on the excellent book review site bookoxygen, which describes the book as "56 short, strange fictions which arrive out of left field, bringing warmth, wit and a deliciously off-beat perspective." Read them here.

August 2012

Sally Zigmund reviews the book on her blog, The Elephant in the Writing Room, saying: "I am sure that everyone who reads this collection will see different colours, shapes and meanings from the ones I have discovered. But isn't that the point? These stories are what the reader brings to them. Reading Tania's fiction is like a being overwhelmed by wave on a deserted January beach that takes you to places you never imagined.  Stunning." Read her full review here.

On Goodreads, Berit Ellingsen says: "there is no doubt that Hershman is an expert of the very short story. The themes in the collection are nicely cohesive and the voice and narrative structure well varied. I’ve had the pleasure of reading many of these stories in their individual publication, but reading them all together for a full impression of the author’s warm voice and deft descriptions, was even better."
Read the full review. And Roxane Gay says  "The stories that were great ... were truly great. I particularly liked how she was able to warp reality and time in different ways. Hershman is not lacking in imagination and this is definitely a book worth reading." Read the full review.

In Bookmunch, Ebba Brooks calls My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions: "experimental yet accessible...strong and assured writing, which demands your attention. No skimming or scanning here: but even the most time starved potential reader can and should be able to spare three minutes to give undivided attention to one of these." Read the full review.

July 2012

David Clarke says: "Tania Hershman's prose...[is] a kind of poetic prose, a heightened prose - but somehow not prose poetry. She's interested in the things unsaid, the gap between desire and fulfilment, things we leave hanging in the air. That's where these short pieces work best. She conjures a situation - sometimes commonplace, sometimes surreal - then leaves us to imagine the hows, the whys and the what-nexts." Read the full blog post.

Scott Pack, who reviews short stories over at Me and My Big Mouth, says of the title story of my collection: "A more beautiful few lines on the bittersweet reality of adultery you'll be hard pressed to find.
." Read the 4* review here.
June 2012
Benjamin Judge says: "If I had to sum up Tania Hershman’s prose in a word (and I don’t, but I’m going to anyway for dramatic effect) that word would be ‘alive’....Since The White Road, Hershman has been one of the names I most often think of whilst arguing the short story is actually going through a very good patch thank-you-very-much. My Mother was an Upright Piano confirms her as one of the most interesting writers around. You need to buy this one..." Read his full review here.

Brian Clegg calls the book "... a brilliant collection. And the stories are so short that if you don't like one it doesn't matter - you are already into the next (the difficulty is putting it down)". Read his full review here.