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Viral Stories


Worth reading 😎

A complex & well thought out collection of short stories that sheds light on the fact that things are never truly as they seem.

In the short story Viral, the story that inspires the name of this collection, one of the characters quote “People are saying that the Coronavirus changed the world, but really, the Coronavirus only due all the problems up that were already there just under the surface.”

Interestingly, this very quote stuck with me as an apt round-up for many of the stories included in the Viral Stories collection. Written by Dusting between 2017 and 2021, Viral Stories is an endearing collection of short stories that sheds light on the subtle mysticism and violence that lurks beneath the surface of seemingly normal events and relationships- between friends, family, and lovers alike. While all five stories in this collection deal with vastly different subject matters- from a child’s perspective of everyday life with her mother and family life in The Tram to the murky and mysterious fable surrounding an ominous lake in Vuiru Lake all the way to the effects of Covid-19 on a collection of intrinsically linked strangers-turned-acquaintances in Viral, one thing that remains constant in this collection is the ever-present feeling of something more lurking beneath the surface of these stories.

A win for this collection is Dusting’s ability to transform what seems like a mundane, everyday subject matter into something a little more thought-provoking. An example of this can be seen in Vuiru Lake, which appears (from a first reading) to be the tale of a blossoming love story. As the reader progresses, however, Vuiriu Lake turns out to represent something far darker and more mentally provoking. By taking seemingly simple subject matters and turning them into something more complex, the reader is challenged and encouraged to think critically about the deeper meaning of the text at hand.

While this is an interesting and engaging feature in Dusting’s collection, it can sometimes feel disjointed in the overall context of the stories. Short stories are, in their essence, often a pared-down version of many events or a highly descriptive account of one particular event. In Viral Stories, it sometimes feels as though stories are being rushed, with the author attempting to pack as much description and action into this short-form method as possible. This is seen in Cascading Light & Sexual Eternity and Viral, where action timelines respectively jump, leading to quite jam-packed stories that can be confusing for the reader at times. When reading the stories, I sometimes wished that the stories were a little longer, if only to ease me into them and explain certain topics a little more clearly. That being said, however, if you’re looking for a collection that packs a punch and fits plenty of action, symbolism, description, and characters into a relatively short amount of text, you’ll love this collection.

In conclusion, it’s clear that Viral Stories by Cameron Dusting is a well-thought-out, considered piece of work. In a deliberate and brave artistic choice, the author weaves different locations, heavy symbolism, and a wide range of themes and characters together in a manner that works well despite the seemingly stark differences between stories. If you’re someone who loves an action-packed read and wants to be challenged when it comes to deciphering the inner meaning of your text, Viral Stories is the perfect book for you. 

Reviewed by

Hi, my name is Avril and I'm a writer & English Lit grad living in Dublin, Ireland. I fell in love with reading at a young age, and carried this passion on to make reading and writing my full-time career. When I'm not reading or writing, I love painting, jewellery making, and hanging with my cat!

The Tram

About the author

Cameron Dusting is a writer from Melbourne, Australia. He travels internationally while writing fiction. Keep up-to-date at view profile

Published on September 19, 2021

30000 words

Contains graphic explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Short Story

Reviewed by