Sky Light Rain, Judy Darley’s second collection of short stories and flash fictions, was published at the end of 2019 by Valley Press a small indie based in Scarborough, Yorkshire.
My review copy arrived during lockdown and has been a very welcome distraction from the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. As I’ve said before, short stories are a perfect form for the times we’re living through, when there’s so much strangeness to get our heads round and it can be hard to focus on anything longer. Of course quality counts; they have to be worth reading and these stories are not only well-written but also intriguing and satisfying in equal measure. To add to the pleasure, the cover features beautiful artwork in shades of blue, grey and turquoise by the author, and the book itself is just the right weight in the hand.
The luminous cover of a watery landscape perfectly sums up the themes of change and transition; and the many mythical elements that thread through the stories add to the shape-shifting quality of the narratives. Overall there’s something slippery about these stories … I mean in a good way. Children go flying at night time, a clay unicorn has disturbing powers, a woman transforms herself into a creature with ‘a layer of shell as brilliant red as fire, and another is delighted to discover a fin whale in her cellar – ‘the sly, tempting flick of a tail’.
Sky Light Rain is a very enjoyable and absorbing book of stories about change, family relationships and self-discovery from a talented author.