a hybrid collection

A hybrid collection of small fictions that criss-crosses the line between truth and fiction, prose and poetry, past and future. Sometimes sharp and focused, sometimes dreamlike and expansive, these stories captivate on every page and question assumptions around the beginning, middle and end. Called a ‘masterclass in the short form’, the other side of better is both instructional and engaging, as well as surprising, with an idiosyncratic editor’s voice cleverly woven throughout.

the other side of better was launched in Ōtepoti Dunedin in June 2021. NZ Poet Laureate David Eggleton launched the book, with guests Tracey Slaughter and Diane Brown. The launch also included an art show with Jennifer Halli, whose collograph print is featured on the cover of the book.

At the launch, David Eggleton noted:

‘Virginia Woolf in her novel To the Lighthouse writes: ‘The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.’ ‘Illuminations of the unexpected’ – that statement captures something of the sense of what I get from gathering my thoughts after having read Michelle’s new collection of stories, the other side of better.’

The book can be purchased directly from the publisher here. Also available at Nationwide and in a bookstore near you.

Cover art is by Jennifer Halli; find out more about the artist here.


What people are saying:

Here, with Michelle Elvy’s the other side of better, are wise reflections cast through refracted light. Here is an absorbing cinematic poetry in the telling – breathtakingly honest and elegant stories (personal, yet universal) about how we live, how we struggle and, most enduringly, how we thrive. A wondrous collection!

~ Robert Scotellaro

A collection that surprises not just because it can, but because it understands the surprises of the world.

~ Erik Kennedy

Michelle Elvy needs no more than this, the smallest white spaces, in which to swim the waters between story and poem with humour, colour, imagination and a sharp grace.

~Tania Hershman

Michelle Elvy uses the economy of the form to keep her powder dry. Often, the full implication – sometimes enormity – of the story is only realised after the reading is over.

~ James Norcliffe

Well-turned stories, rich with wit and detail, that explore the spaces between people and places, from the ‘concrete weight’ of history to the secrets of creeks, islands and oceans.

~ Paula Morris

Modern, humane and pacy… the other side of better is a gorgeous collection about love, the environment, and the things that make people devour and deify each other.

~ Nuala O’Connor

To read Elvy’s work is to move closer to discovery – is to find a larger view of possibility.

~ Sam Rasnake

These unique stories of love and dreams and oceanic epiphanies could only come alive at the hand of Michelle Elvy. It is a delight to see how she plays with the form and bends it to her will.

~ Kathy Fish

the other side of better teems with innovative, intimate adventures, each a microcosm of humanity made capacious through Michelle Elvy’s sharp, unique lens.

~ Christopher Allen


Reviews, interviews, links:

An interview at the publisher’s site is here.

An interview with RNZ’s Lynn Freeman is here.

‘A wonderful reminder that longer is not always better. Sometimes neatly packaged, well written prose creates as much of a lingering connection as any lengthy novel.’

– Chris Reed; full review at NZ Booklovers

‘Adventures small and large brim within these pages, where you’ll only need to hold your breath for exhilaration’s sake.’

-Judy Darley; full review at Sky Light Rain


Where to find the book: 

Internationally: The publisher’s website  /  Amazon Kindle

In New Zealand: Nationwide Books or in a bookstore near you!

For reviews, please contact the publisher (helpdesk [at] adhocfiction [dot] com) or add your note to Goodreads.

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 978-1-912095-02-5
  • 133mm x 203mm; 172pp
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