Genre: Literary fiction, short stories, biographical fiction, cultural history
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Blurb: Dreamers, singers, heroes and killers, they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, yet inside themselves they are as frail and desperate as the rest of us. But can you see them? Can you unravel the truth? These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.
Backstories is a fantastic compilation of short stories by Simon Van Der Velde. Each short story is based on the life of a famous (or sometimes infamous) person. The people are real, but the stories are a work of fiction. I wasn’t able to guess all of them – my general knowledge of famous people is beyond terrible – however, this didn’t distract from how cleverly written and entertaining each story was. Backstories is one of only four books I’ve given a 5 star rating to so far this year (and I’ve read 30 books!). Each story felt like I was trying to piece together a murder mystery or something – it felt like one big written game of Cluedo!
Although I read the book in one sitting, I feel like I should have really savoured it and read one short story at a time. It’s a short book, it only has 90 pages, but there are 14 short stories packed into those pages. This is one of the most unique and interesting books I think I’ve ever read and I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of film, TV, music, and the occasional serial killer.
And keep your eyes peeled for Backstories 2 in the future!!
**A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review**