Title- Always Rarely Sometimes
Publisher- Independently Published
Publication Date- Jan 2021
Comment- I was gifted a free copy via Rachels’s random resources and the author in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own and I promise I’m not lying to impress you.
Always Never, Rarely Sometimes
An aspiring magician who gets a sinister pleasure playing all kinds of tricks on those around him. Two strangers running into each after 20 years and wondering what they’ve missed. A long-suffering husband who decides it’s time he started making big decisions. An unhappy child at Christmas struggling to deal with his new surroundings before a wonderfully surprising encounter..
Summary and Review
There were seven short stories within this collection and each was so different from the other that you can’t really bind them up in one. As with most anthologies or collections, there are some stronger than others, some that leave you thinking and some that just leave a smile on your face.
- The Prankster- An aspiring magician playing ‘pranks’ on those around him.
- Lies and Secrets- Two people meet after 20 years and try to reconnect
- Lucky/Unlucky- The story of one man’s change in luck
- There, Unthere- One man is forced to face the ramifications of a life lived badly
- That Beautiful girl- Overhearing conversations in a café
- Motive, Murder, Method- A long-suffering husband is forced to make hard decisions
- The Magic of Christmas- A magical tale of a chance encounter at Christmas
The Prankster was my favourite because so much was conveyed in the prankster’s actions which belied what he thought about himself. As a character study I found it really illuminating.
I also really enjoyed Lies and Secrets, again because you got to see the interactions between two people which was at odds to the truth.
The author has a great way of showing the inner persona in juxtaposition with the face we actually show to the world.
In fact I would say that if there was a theme throughout, it would have been that who we portray is not exactly who we are, whether we are a pillar of the community who has skeletons in their closet or a young boy who bears his loneliness in order to make his family happy.
If you enjoy nuanced short stories or even if you have a book club that likes to read stories aloud, this collection has a lot of content that could provide hours of debate and discussion.
Always Never, Rarely Sometimes is the third book from Alexander Raphael, following on from his short story The Summer of Madness and his set of conceptual short stories Illusions, Delusions.
Half-Welsh, half-Mexican and growing up in London, Alex Raphael was surrounded by different influences and interests. But it was always books that spoke to him most and had the greatest impact.
He started writing when at college, where his love of reading evolved into a desire to write, in particular focusing on poetry and short stories. Studying English and American Literature at university meant he took a break from writing, as well as giving him the chance to see more of Mexico on his travels. He concentrated on his journalistic career while working on different writing projects, but his favourite genre of literature has always been short stories as they are what first inspired him to write.
That’s why his first book was The Summer of Madness, a romantic short story that tells of a guy who goes out to try to win his ex-girlfriend back. Will you be rooting for Kurt and his big public gesture or is it more complicated than that and you don’t want her to date him again? Either way you’ll get to know a memorable set of characters along for the ride.
His second book Illusions, Delusions reflects Raphael’s love of alternative short stories from the writers of his childhood and challenges the idea of the narrative. Will your favourite be the story in the form of a questionnaire, a poem or a set of jokes, among the seven very different styles?
Alexander Raphael’s latest offering is Always Never, Rarely Sometimes, featuring original premises and distinctive characters with his trademark imagination, humour and memorable dialogue. Among others, meet a sinister magician with an array of pranks, a long-suffering husband finally becoming more decisive and a group of young guys intrigued by a pretty woman on another table.