Dictionary Stories: Short Fictions and Other Findings


Title: Dictionary Stories:Short Fictions and Other Findings

Writer: Jez Burrows

Publishing House: Harper Perennial

Date of Publication: April 10th 2018

Rating: 5 stars

‘’Why limit divination to sacred books? Why not let an atlas tell you where to move? Or let the Yellow Pages find you a soul mate? Or let a dictionary, with its tens of thousands of narrative signposts point you in the direction of a good story?’’

This paragraph from the Introduction made me fall in love with this books instantly. It reminded me of myself being a student, trying to guess the exam topics by throwing the book on the floor, watching with glee as it landed in this page or that chapter, Many students did that in my time, actually. We thought it would help us study certain topics and leave everything else to fortune. Needless to say, it never worked…

But this book works wonders. This brilliant little gem is composed entirely of example sentences taken from a variety of dictionaries, masterfully sewn together by Jez Burrows. I use dictionaries quite a lot to draw inspiration for class examples and exercises and there have been quite a few occasions when I thought that there must be a context behind certain sentences. Burrows deserves a standing ovation for his effort and for successfully creating stories that could be developed into full-length novels, Yes, they’re that good! From notes to recipes and instructions, to love stories, haunting tales, humorous interactions, bittersweet memoirs,..It’s impossible to choose but I managed to narrow down my list of absolute favourites to three Horror stories that are absolutely terrifying and the ‘’entries’’ Ten Dollars An Hour and Whatever You Want from the Fridge, Bands You Probably Haven’t Heard Of, The Night in Question (definitely Cleudo-inspired) and An Extraordinary Woman.

Sometimes we discover treasures out of nowhere. This is a book that will make you laugh and think. It will make you sad, nervous and excited. And you will probably never look at a dictionary in the same way as before…

And these are just example quotes:

‘’Forty years, there or thereabouts, have elapsed. My date isn’t going to show, it seems.’’

‘’The city soon recovered from the effects of the explosion, but when I looked in the mirror, I saw a preoccupied face, a worried head, a body out of sync with the mind. The man that I saw, there was no fight left in him.’’


  1. Great review Amalia! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dearest!!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.