Soul Etchings by Sandra Arnold

Soul Etchings, Sandra ArnoldTINADB 3D

Death, motherhood, the nature of reality, and the gender expectations of cultural conditioning are woven through these biting little stories in Sandra Arnold’s debut flash fiction collection. Sometimes sad, surreal and sinister, they’re also shot through with love and a deep understanding of humanity.

In gorgeous, spare prose that paints a vivid picture, Sandra Arnold gives voice to characters that are often unheard. From Daisy in Fireworks Night, willing to do whatever it takes to protect her little sister; to Martha in The Girl With Green Hair who has her body in the world we live in and her mind in the one that not many people see; and Ruby in Don’t Mess With Vikings who finds strength in a diagnosis of illness to stand up to bullies. With the stories in this collection, Sandra Arnold etches marks on your soul that will last.


ISBN: 978-1-9164483-7-7

Published: 27th June 2019


ISBN: 978-1-9164483-6-0

Published: 27th June 2019

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Sandra Arnold is a novelist, short story and non-fiction writer. Her work has been broadcast on national radio, published and anthologised in New Zealand and internationally. A Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee, her awards include finalist in the 2018 Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition, the 2018 TSS Publishing Flash Fiction Competition, the 2018 University of Sunderland Short Story Competition, and winner of the 2015 New Zealand Heritage Short Story Award. She has published a book on parental bereavement: Sing No Sad Songs and two novels: Tomorrow’s Empire and A Distraction of Opposites. Her third novel The Ash, the Well and the Bluebell is forthcoming from Mākaro Press (NZ).
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“Sandra Arnold’s debut flash collection Soul Etchings is simply beautiful. There’s an element of the mystery of humanity and the world that will fill readers with wonder. Each detail is unique and woven together in a universal tapestry, and Soul Etchings will leave readers craving more from Sandra Arnold.” Niles Reddick, author of Reading the Coffee Grounds and Other Stories.

“Sandra Arnold’s stories are small windows into another world, a world which is almost this world. She brings the readers in, page by page, enticing with dream-like language and insightful observation. Beguiling, strange, tender and chilling, these potent gems continue percolating in your mind long after the reading is done.” Meg Pokrass, Author of Alligators At Night.

“Mastery of the short form is a delicate, nerve-wracking balancing act. Tilt one way and you fall into bathos, tilt the other and you plunge into artifice and contrivance. There is very little room to manoeuvre. Sandra Arnold, in this rich collection demonstrates just how it should be done. In story after brilliant story, she negotiates the tightrope surely, often with bravura, and all without the aid of a safety net.” James Norcliffe, author of Dark Days at the Oxygen Cafe.

“From the detritus of daily life, Arnold forges a tenderly rendered, nuanced account of her character’s lives- which she avoids over-simplifying. Soul Etchings is vital, and the stakes are high: this author pools the deep to plumb the raw and wounded, and in doing so, spellbinds and provides release.” Robert Vaughan, author of Funhouse, EIC Bending Genres.

“A wise and poetic sensibility currents through these stories in Soul Etchings. They are short, yet substantial—intimate and keen. Here are stories of place and of the heart.” Robert Scotellaro, author of What We Know So Far.

“In Soul Etchings, Sandra Arnold creates a patchwork of memorable moments, weaving scenes of human striving, folly and joy. These stories create a lingering interconnectedness – between character and place, between past and present, between writer and reader. This collection hums with quiet discord and persistent longing.” Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble and editor of Bonsai: Best small stories of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Soul Etchings, Sandra Arnold’s collection of short-short fictions travels deep into the human experience. The stories are compelling, sometimes surprising or disturbing and show great insight into how people behave. A pair of young girls steal a baby not really knowing what they are doing; a sudden storm causes a horrific balloon accident while a mother watches; a couple who try and escape memories at Christmas find unexpected solace in the simple words of a stranger. Often, children have to understand and deal with the adult world and what adults do to them. The sense of place is very strong in this collection and the vivid prose emphasises both the beauty and the fragility of life. Soul Etchings is a brilliant and poetic read, one not to be missed.” Jude Higgins, author of The Chemist’s House.