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Last Year, When We Were Young [Kindle Edition]

Andrew J. McKiernan , Will Elliott , Anna Tambour

Kindle Price: $5.99 includes tax, if applicable

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Product Description

Product Description

WINNER: 2014 AHWA Australian Shadows Award, Collected Work
'Last Year, When We Were Young' brings together 16 tales that defy conventions of genre and style, every one with an edge sharper than a razor and darker than a night on Neptune.

From the darkly hilarious 'All the Clowns in Clowntown', to the heart-breaking and disturbing title story, this debut collection from multi-award nominated author and illustrator Andrew McKiernan pulls no punches.

"McKiernan is a magician. He performs magic tricks in every story, spinning us around, making us believe one thing before showing us we were wrong all along. His stories are pure magic, staying with you like an echo long after reading." -- Kaaron Warren, author of 'Slights' and 'Walking the Tree'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2319 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Satalyte Publishing; 1 edition (28 June 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,413 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Collection 24 June 2014
By Greg Chapman - Published on Amazon.com
Andrew J. McKiernan’s collection, Last Year When We Were Young, is proof yet again of the incredible writing talent that can be found in Australia and further still, proof that horror can have a meaningful voice that goes well beyond blood and gore.

Whether it is a story about a secretary taking phone messages from the dead, a group of clowns trying to avoid forced conscription in a travelling circus, or astronauts encountering cosmic monsters in the depths of space, the impossible in McKiernan’s stories never fails to engage because the stories always orbit characters that are quantifiably human.

McKiernan’s deft hand with prose is also addictive, with each turn of phrase sweeping the reader away from reality. Although many of his supernatural tales exude mysterious atmosphere, demonic forces or faith, I think the stories where the uncanny takes a back seat are where he really shines. Here the horror is less inexplicable, but no less haunting. The tales, White Lines, White Crosses, The Memory of Water, Calliope: A Steam Romance, and the title story being prime examples.

Overall, the collection is engrossing, with every story leaving the reader with sensations of loss, hope, melancholy, repulsion and joy. It’s not often that a writer can convey such a broad section of emotions, but this is what makes collections so worthwhile – and enjoyable.

I recall reading one of Andrew’s Facebook posts some time ago about how he was finding it a real challenge to select the stories for Last Year, When We Were Young, but I can safely say that he and Satalyte have put together a wonderful treasury of fiction that is well worth any reader’s time, horror fan or no.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Talented 4 March 2015
By Nora Peevy - Published on Amazon.com
The title weaves its way through every short story in this anthology. It's been a long time since I've read a collection that touched my heart and made me weep. I wept not with sadness, but with gladness. Andrew McKiernan took me on an emotional and healing journey, for you see, I've been mourning the death of my father and I haven't felt much, mostly numb, but his stories took me on a cathartic journey and played to my heartstrings. Every story spoke to me of a loss of innocence, when I was younger and more hopeful, when I didn't have to deal with a blinding grief, but that changed in just one year. So quickly, I lost my breath. I couldn't breathe. The changes his characters went through and how they dealt with death literally or figuratively, helped me to grieve.

McKiernan's writing style is lyrical and worthy of being literary, which often isn't a term used in the speculative fiction community, but it should be celebrated and used more. The imagery in his writing is bold and beautiful, and this belongs in our community of the strange, the dark, the weird, and the macabre. Death, any kind of death can be beautiful or senseless, as he shows us. McKiernan is a kick ass, entertaining, genre bending beast of a writer. I'd keep my eyes on him; Mr. McKiernan has a lot of storytelling left to do, and he's just getting started.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Storyteller, Beautiful Collection 5 August 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Andrew J. McKiernan’s short story collection, LAST YEAR, WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, is a work of wonder. Each story is sublime and fresh. Some are macabre or even terrifying, others humorous and witty, all masterfully written, and all with an unexpected curve or spiral. I ate the stories in this book like pieces of imported Belgian chocolate. If I was good, really good, and had completed all my work for the day, I’d treat myself to a story out of McKiernan’s book. I did not start from the beginning working my way to the last page. I closed my eyes and randomly picked one tale at a time, savoring each one. The last I read was, “Love Death,” a tragic love story that days after reading still haunts my waking and sleeping dreams. Do yourself a favor, and buy your own copy of LAST YEAR, WHEN WE WERE YOUNG. You’ll want to keep this book in your library to re-read a number of times
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection of dark speculative fiction 19 August 2014
By Frank R. Errington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Review copy

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy what's coming out of the Australian horror writing community and this new collection of shorts from Andrew J. McKiernan just adds to that impression.

Last Year, When We Were Young cover's his young career from his first published short in July of 2007 though November of 2012. Sixteen stories, with only one thing in common, they are all exceptional.

It all starts with a delightful fantasy with beautiful prose, "The Memory of Water," which opens with the line, "'The ocean, it remembers us,' David said, the heel of his foot dredging shallow trenches in the sand."

There's the powerful didactic story "White Lines, White Crosses," A tale of speed and peer pressure told in a haunting manner.

I loved "Calliope: A Steam Romance." A bit of steampunk fantasy, beautifully told. It's at this point in the collection that I'm getting the feeling I'm reading something special as McKiernan does with words what a great painter does with his brushstrokes.

There is a distinct diversity in the stories found in this collection, as evidenced in "Love Death," an intriguing story of a newlywed who turns to a necromancer to bring back his bride after a wedding day accident and the consequence that follows.

I keep thinking that I won't comment on every story, but each one is even better than the last. One of my favorites is, "The Message," in which Marion leaves her abusive husband and takes a job answering a very special phone and taking messages. Sounds simple, right? I really enjoyed where this one went.

At the end of the book, the author tells where the inspiration came from for select stories. "Back in 2006, my second son (who would have been about 7 years of age at the time) came home from school with a birthday card he'd made for me from clip-art. It read; All the clowns in Clowntown, wish you barrels of fun on your birthday! There was a cartoony picture of a clown on front , and the instant I read it I knew there was a story hidden inside." The resulting story was "All the Clowns In Clowntown." There's even a second visit to Clowntown later in the collection.

Autosarcophagy (look it up) is a big part of "The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim. That's as good a place as any to end this review.

Last Year, When We Were Young is among my favorite reads for 2014. Currently available in both paperback and for the Kindle through Amazon.com from Satalyte Publishing. Plus, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited you can read it for FREE.

This one gets my highest recommendation, I can all but guarantee you won't be disappointed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Each story is supremely addictive. 6 July 2014
By Amanda Kool - Published on Amazon.com
'Last Year, When We Were Young' is loaded with well-written, gripping tales, each uniquely different in tone, voice and theme.
McKiernan's style is both descriptive and restrained. His turn of phrase is a delight. His characters are each as full and flawed and realised as you could want for their bite-sized turns on the page.

From the eerie premise of 'The Message', through the dreadful certainty of 'Love Death', to the inevitable fate of the hero of 'Calliope: A Steam Romance'; each story creates a world that is distinct and unexpected.

The tales that stick with me are those where the horror was brought home to roost. 'A Prayer for Lazarus' took me back to every gothic, sinister tale I've ever seen or read (Frailty, 1922 as examples). Beginning with the line, "Daddy keeps Momma chained up in the barn out back," this struggle of a family coping with something so monstrous was as compelling as it was disturbing. However, the real tragedy was the wider, global event outside the farmstead and the ramifications beyond this one family's story.

'The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim' was like a slow-moving train wreck from which I could not tear my gaze. Darkly funny and dare I say, delicious.

'All the Clowns in Clowntown' was the standout for me. I never in my reading life thought I would care so deeply for a bunch of flappy-footed, red-nosed clowns. But I did. I was scared for them and cheering for them the whole way. More stories in that universe please!

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