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  1. It is difficult to sustain quality through a collection of short stories and I'm not sure Kirsty Logan has managed it. There is one gem of a story - Una and Coll are Not Friends - that shines far brighter than any other story in the collection. It is gentle, subtle, humorous and human. It has a depth and makes one think about the nature of being an outsider. There are a couple of other interesting stories, particularly the Tiger Palace. Most (but not all) stories have some current of lesbian love. And most seem to have some reference to fairy stories as a genre, although few seem to be readily identifiable to specific stories. The problem is that the collection is very patchy and, like a 1980s pop album, seems to be mostly filler. Many stories seem to be quirky for its own sake - e.g. the Rental Heart or the Coin Operated Boy - but don't actually seem to go anywhere or have anything to say. Maybe they just didn't press my buttons, but the whole did seem somewhat dull and repetitive. Few of the characters seemed to have much humanity or warmth which tends to further disengage the reader. **000
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