BackStories by Simon Van Der Velde – Review.

About The Book

Dreamers, singers, talkers and killers; they can dazzle with their beauty or their talent or their unmitigated evil, but 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 unique collection of stories each told from the point of view of a famous, (or notorious) person at a pivotal moment in their lives. The writing is literary but accessible and the voices vividly real. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, and the driving themes are inclusion, social justice and of course, nostalgia – but the real key to these stories is that the protagonists’ identities are withheld. This means that your job is to find them, leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.

My Review

With thanks to the author for the copy received. I don’t read many short stories but when I was contacted by the author of this collection I was a little intrigued. And I am so pleased that I chose to read it. Backstories is a delight. A few of them I read more than once, the ones I liked the most and the ones that I wanted to see if I had missed anything that could have made me work out who they were.

It is impossible to review without giving away any identities so instead I will tell you what my favourites were and my thoughts on one of others. The stories I enjoyed the most were The Guitar, Tonight’s The Night and The Big Attraction. One of the reasons I liked The Guitar, the first in the collection, was because I instantly knew I was in for a treat. The other two are completely different to this but were characters who many will be aware of. 

One of the stories sent the hairs up on the back of my neck. Again I can’t say who it was about but that story was The Blank Face. I will read this story again but I found it more unsettling than the others. This was a story that sent me straight to the internet, I had known nothing about this person’s personal life. Just their actions

Out of all of them there was only one I wasn’t familiar with so that story didn’t have the same impact. Again though, it sent me to the internet.

This collection was very refreshing, it is the type of collection where you would benefit from reading one or two a day and savouring what you have experienced. I loved it.

You can purchase a copy of the book at

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