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Donald Ward’s stories are written in a straight-ahead narrative style that offers conceptual and philosophical underpinnings. Despite this intentional layering, he maintains the kind of economy of description and simplicity of exposition that is perfectly suited to the short story genre. Throughout his stories he likes to explore the human willingness to carry on in the face of often hostile and baffling circumstances, where nothing is as it first appears, and where endings are not predicable. These are stories that gently prod the reader to consider serious human foibles and balance that with a wicked humour. In Ward’s universe readers will find a race of superior chickens who investigate their earthly origins, a badger who shares his fears with a monk, a listless professor roused into life through a late-night dialogue with his distraught female student, and a female dwarf from the seventeenth century pursuing the love of an octogenarian at Starbucks. Always bubbling just below the surface of these stories with their oddities of plot and character is something unexpected and frequently profound.

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