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Book Review -‘Life Ain’t Pretty’ by R.A. Chin

‘Life Ain’t Pretty’ is a crime-fiction anthology featuring five extremely intense and intriguing short stories, by Koestler Arts Award winning author R.A Chin.

Each story serves as a snapshot into the lives of diverse and complex characters including a delinquent BMX enthusiast, a repressed autistic boy and a corrupt prison officer, and also as a vehicle to showcase the darker elements of humanity.

Picture: Pukaar News

‘Life Ain’t Pretty’ – that’s the title of the book, and also its overarching theme as it explores elements of human troubles and conflict.

The stories are cleverly sculpted, and Richard A. Chin has a talent for sucking the reader into them almost instantly – transporting them right into the heart of the character’s world and revealing their reality within the space of just a few short pages. They often end with a clever and somewhat subtle twist – a literary pay off which leaves the reader feeling satisfied, and with plenty to think about.

In the case of ‘Deliverance,’ there is a certain poetic justice between two pivotal characters in the story, and ‘Gin and Chronic’ serves as something of a lesson in how our early experiences can shape us – and have life changing effects many years down the line…  

The world isn’t all roses and sunshine, and this book doesn’t shy away from harsh truths – the brutal and often unpredictable reality of human nature. I found it a refreshing read – a neat and skilfully written book, which left me with plenty of food for thought…

I loved the fact that the stories were short, and could be devoured easily – giving me the opportunity to delve into another world during my daily monotonous commute.

It’s true, life ain’t pretty, but at least with this book in your hands, it can be pretty interesting…  

By Louise Steel