‘Bang-on brilliant’ MIRIAM TOEWS
This brilliant and bitingly funny novel-in-stories, set in and around a single crumbling apartment building in Soviet-era Ukraine, heralds the arrival of a major new talent.
‘A comic triumph’ GLOBE AND MAIL
A cast of unforgettable characters–citizens of the small industrial town of Kirovka–populate Maria Reva’s ingeniously entwined tales that span the chaotic years leading up to and immediately following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Weaving the strands of the narrative together is an unforgettable, chameleon-like young woman named Zaya: an orphan turned beauty-pageant crasher who survives the extraordinary circumstances of her childhood through a compelling combination of ferocity, intelligence, stubbornness and wit.
Inspired by her own family’s history, Reva’s Good Citizens Need Not Fear takes us from paranoia to tenderness and back again, exploring what it is to be an individual amid the roiling forces of history.
‘Luminous’ YANN MARTEL
‘Outstanding’ ANTHONY DOERR
‘Maria Reva’s enthralling debut of interlinked short stories achieves the double effect of timelessness and timeliness’ KAPKA KASSABOVA, GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE DAY
Writers include: Jean Rhys, Beryl Bainbridge, Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Smith, Rosamond Lehmann, Barbara Pym, Angela Thirkell, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Dorothy Parker, Doris Lessing, Olivia Manning, Rose Macaulay and Stevie Smith
A. S. Byatt’s comment that Ruth Fainlight’s poems ‘combine Alice Munro’s virtues with something more archaic and also, in exact clear words, give us a truly new vision of usual and mysterious events’ can be applied with equal force to this collection of stories. Acutely precise and elegant, they move from vivid evocations of an American childhood and close studies of amoral expatriate life to erotic humour and black fantasy. The breakdown of a middle-aged man when the ghost of his mother, who perished in the Holocaust, returns to haunt him; the unexplained midnight arrival of three likely terrorists at the comfortable English village house of a university professor; a woman’s half-reluctant marriage to her daughter’s fiance: all these stories demonstrate Ruth Fainlight’s uncompromising subtlety of style, and the range of her sympathies and imagination.
The characters in these fearless stories stumble – occasionally towards love, more often towards survival – and find that history, above all, is their truest and greatest opponent. And what emerges, in the midst of newly erected barriers, boundaries, and nations, is a journey into the centre of the only place that matters – the human heart.
Shena Mackay, who first came to fame before the age of twenty with two novellas, is the doyenne of the short form. In this volume of previously uncollected stories – including those read on radio – she constantly surprises with a view of the ordinary world that is not at all ordinary.
A grasshopper determinedly takes up residence on a bathroom ceiling; a gecko hiding in a cupboard brings a strange sort of luck; a woman spies from a distance two older women friends after many long years and a memory of how they gallopedin the playground as Starlight Blaze and Pepperpot plays sweetly, suddenly in her mind; pigs are swaddled in blankets, looking like babies in shawls; luggage is packed with youthful hopes and ideals.
She observes how people rub along and reveals the best and worst of us all: a disgruntled schoolboy and his hapless teacher conquer mountains and their antipathy for each other; a girl with green eyes and iridescent hair discovers revenge; a race to be the best mushroom-picker creates only losers; and rotten apples, in the right pair of hands, make a loving pie.
Shena Mackay is a generous and keen-eyed chronicler of the everyday; she deftly brings wisdom and humour to the worlds she creates, worlds that we suddenly, excitingly see anew. She is an utterly original writer.
*’One of the most shocking plot twists in all of literature. It hits you like a freight train’ GILLIAN FLYNN
John and Laura have come to Venice to try and escape the pain of their young daughter’s death. But when they encounter two old women who claim to have second sight, they find that instead of laying their ghosts to rest they become caught up in a train of increasingly strange and violent events.
The four other haunting, evocative stories in this volume also explore deep fears and longings, secrets and desires: a lonely teacher who investigates a mysterious American couple, a young woman confronting her father’s past, a party of pilgrims who meet disaster in Jerusalem and a scientist who harnesses the power of the mind to chilling effect.
THE DAYLIGHT AND THE DUST is the most comprehensive selection of Janet Frame’s stories ever published, taken from the four different collections released during her lifetime and featuring many of her best stories. Written over four decades, they come from her classic prize-winning collection THE LAGOON AND OTHER STORIES, first published in 1952, right up to the volume YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE HUMAN HEART, published in the 1980s. This new selection also includes five works that have not been collected before.
Janet Frame’s versatility dazzles. Her themes range from childhood to old age to death and beyond. Within the pages of one book the reader is transported from small town New Zealand to inner-city London, and from realism to fantasy.
This volume offers the most comprehensive collection of Janet Frame’s unique and powerful writing.
A beautifully bizarre assortment of short stories and prose poems. Writing on an eclectic range of subjects from ‘Bread’ and ‘Strawberries’, to ‘Fainting’ and ‘Women’s Novels’, Margaret Atwood brings her astonishing world view to the comings and goings of ordinary life. The pretentious male chef is taken down a peg, a gang of cynical five year olds concoct a poisonous brew; and knowing when to stop is of deadly importance in a game of Murder in the Dark.
Praise for Murder in the Dark:
These vignettes glow with the usual Atwood magic of intelligence … an exhilarating performance, full of sharp pleasures for the mind -BRITISH BOOK NEWS
‘A brilliant and witty writer’ –COSMOPOLITAN
‘Direct, unpretentious, humorous’ -SUNDAY TIMES