Take Your Bean, by Angela Kubinec - 3 Stars

Take Your Bean, by Angela Kubinec, is a collection of 17 short pieces written for the Radish “fiction on the go” platform. If you haven’t encountered Radish before, the concept is to provide brief bursts of story content that can be read on a mobile device (app), for commuters etc. For an author, brevity is key to this format but they can also take advantage of the turnstile system – readers paying a couple of virtual coins at the gate to unlock the next chapter.

I picked out this title because only a couple of readers had seen it, no one had reviewed it yet and it was an example of the chuck-in-a-bucket “Others” genre. Radish is a little too dominated by the romance writers at the moment, some of whose fingers have surely become too sticky to type. I’d like to encourage variation on Radish, more genres and cross-genre projects (please), so thought this could be it.

Take Your Bean is currently available to read for free, so that dismisses any comments about value for money. The writer must be an amateur poet, not because any of this is poetry but because she makes observations on human life that are images really, yet fragile and from life experience, without judgements but simply saying “This is how it is”. The path has been well worn over the centuries, with insights we agree with and flattery we don’t, e.g. “What a piece of work is man,” [Yep] “How noble in reason” [Are you kidding? Read the news]. What I mean to say is, Angela Kubinec has big eyes. When [forgotten who] went to see Herman Melville, he was expecting the writer’s eyes to be uncommonly big because, through reading his books, it seemed that this author observed everything.

Take Your Bean left a mild imprint, not deeply impressive but not to be dismissed either. Some of the imaginative connections and metaphors were sharp and some conveyed feelings that you had to be there to describe – a barefoot summer at the time of the missile crisis, encountering a no-direction traveller at a bus stop in the dustlands of the soul. This hit and miss output did include a few misses though, either flops or just writing too short to make an impact, as if the author thoroughly felt that moment, lived through it, then didn’t give them self a long enough run up to jump it across the gap between them and the reader. Whistle, whistle, down it went into the gorge. Plop. That just describes some of them, by no means everything. I plucked out few individual moments from this that had a whiff of class.

All in all, I think this writer makes notes of whatever happens to them, colouring them in with neat observations and human interpretation, empathy even, then uploads a post to project that inner moment outward into the world like one of those paper lanterns that people light in the park to float away into the sky like a prayer. Those lanterns make the sender feel better, raise the hearts of those who see them diminish in the sky and then one in a million of these fiery dandelion seeds comes to rest in just the right place, timed to perfection and starts a generation-defining forest fire.

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