My extremely grateful thanks to David Borrowdale at Reflex Press for sending me a copy of The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing by Hannah Storm in return for an honest review. I don’t read nearly enough short fiction and it gives me great pleasure to share my review today.
Published by Reflex Press on 20th July, The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing is available for purchase here, where you can also find a sample story.
The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing
The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing is a ﬂash ﬁction collection that explores the fragility of human relationships and those unexpected meetings and moments that upend our familiar worlds.
In her debut collection, Hannah Storm takes us to far-off countries and cultures, offering the reader a glimpse of the stories behind easily forgotten headlines, blending them with myth and magic. It is here that we meet characters often pushed to the extreme, who remind us that we are all still animals – driven by instinct and a need for protection.
Woven throughout are the frequently difficult dynamics that disempower and deﬁne women and which transcend distance and cultures.
From this emerges an exploration of place and safety: how those environments we may fear as most hostile can bring us the greatest peace, while those that should promise comfort engender precisely the opposite.
My Review of The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing
A selection of forty-nine short works of fiction.
If I’m honest, I picked up The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing in between finishing one book and starting another because I thought it would be a quick read. What I hadn’t expected from Hannah Storm’s writing was the immediate emotional hit to the solar plexus that these stories provide. They are so impactful that I was completely taken aback, totally immersed in the worlds Hannah Storm presents and finished reading The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing feeling personally changed as a result. The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing was anything but a quick read because the stories deserved full attention and time to think about them and contemplate their obvious and implied meanings properly. I can imagine rereading this collection time and again and finding new concepts and significance.
The themes of The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing are often quite uncomfortable as Hannah Storm does not shy away from images of repression, violation, submission and subjugation so that this collection lays bare the less salubrious side of life. Frequently, the women in these pieces suffer at the hands of men, with war crimes, domestic violence and betrayal as major motifs. However, this isn’t to say that The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing is filled with misandry or is entirely negative. Instead, Hannah Storm’s words feel feminist and strong as women survive the most adverse conditions, often with a fierce, protective maternal instinct.
Peopled with vivid characters and featuring exotic as well as more prosaic locations, The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing leads the reader into unfamiliar experiences, as well as those they can relate to, making this book an intense and affecting read. An iterative image of red in many of the pieces reverberates with desire and danger so that there’s a tension to be felt physically in reading them. At times I found the writing almost painfully beautiful.
I’m not sure I can say I enjoyed every aspect of The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing because the writing is so powerful that I could feel the emotions of many of the characters and picture the scenes and situations they find themselves in so clearly that is wasn’t always a comfortable read. It was, however, exquisite, affecting, powerful and impactful. Hannah Storm crafts her words sublimely. I loved this collection.
About Hannah Storm
Hannah Storm is an award-winning writer of flash fiction. Her work won the ‘I Must Be Off!’ travel writing competition, placed second in the Bath Flash Fiction Award in 2020 and was highly commended in the TSS Flash Fiction Prize. She has been shortlisted for several other competitions and her stories have been published widely online and in print anthologies. Hannah began writing flash fiction after 20 years as a journalist travelling the world and her writing is tribute to the people she met in her work. She also writes creative non-fiction to process her own experiences and is working on a memoir. She has recently completed her first novel. Hannah lives in the UK with her family and by day runs a journalism charity and works as a media consultant specialising in gender, mental health and safety. The Thin Line Between Everything and Nothing is her first flash fiction collection.
You can follow Hannah on Twitter @HANNAHSTORM6.