The Shelter

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The Shelter (A Short Story)

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...a well crafted short set in a bleak near-future dystopia...

Sunni Brown is a ten year old wanting to be a ballerina. As the world crumbles around her, she hides with her mother, Shannon, in their flat. But when the bills are not paid, they find themselves on the streets before finding a place to stay at the Shelter. The Shelter is a converted parking lot with the richest at the top and poorest at the bottom. Sharing a space with another family, Sunni tries to survive while her mother finds herself drawn back into the life of an addict. As the days pass, one family vanishes and another takes their place. While her mother is still absent, Sunni catches the eye of the landlord, who runs the Shelter and recognises her for the ballet shoes. In return for dancing for him, Sunni will get the food and shelter she needs. But she also knows that at some point there will be a further price to pay.

The Shelter is a dystopian short story, set in the near distant future. Society is on the verge of collapse and people are doing their best to survive in the harsh situation. This is far more about how people interact with each other and how far they are willing to go to survive in desperate circumstances. There is no real plot, more a succession of events that Sunni finds herself living through, showing the state of decay of civilisation around her. But each event builds neatly on top of the last, as they are not random events but an ever-spiraling situation. Sunni makes for an interesting point of view character for the story. Her innocence of the world plays cleverly against the harsh reality that the reader can see happening around her. The writing helps to reinforce the points of view, staying true to Sunni’s viewpoint of the world, with the other characters and locations all being described in terms she understands. This really helps to keep the book grounded and it doesn’t waver from the lack of understanding Sunni may have, even though the reader has a much clearer idea of the true picture being painted. Formatting wise, it is fine and the brief jumps in time are well signposted. I didn’t notice any spelling or grammar errors while reading, and the book held my attention all the way through even though the material is grim. It was interesting to see what direction the story would take it it held back few punches on the way.

Overall, it’s a well crafted short which sets the scene for the following novel. If you enjoyed reading this one, there are more books from the author to consider.

Rating: 4
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sliara (22 August 2021)
The plot doesn't seem too enticing to me. I wouldn't buy the book at all.

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