Sunstroke and Other Stories
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Sunstroke and Other Stories

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  221 ratings  ·  40 reviews

A Picador Paperback Original

Tessa Hadley's stories trace the currents of desire, desperation, and mischief that that lie hidden inside domestic relationships.

A mother hears her son's confession that he's cheating on his girlfriend; a student falls in love with a professor and initiates an affair with a man who looks just like him. A boy on a seaside vacation realizes that...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published July 24th 2007 by Picador
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I'm in the middle of this one right now and I have to take a break in between each story because they all pack such a wallup. Wow. Hadley might be my new favorite author. Highly recommended!
This is an extraordinarily accomplished collection of stories with no weak or even mediocre links and two or three classic tales--and I say this as someone who typically is less interested in short story collections. I tend to clumsily divide writers into those who plot or think well and those who write well--naturally better writers do both. Hadley is obviously one of these. Each story is supremely well-conceived; the prose is classic. For me, reading her stories felt like one of those instance...more
As with most short story collections, the first ones are best. As the book winds on the stories start to get a little ragged around the edges, and Hadley's "agenda" (that sort of specifically British class self-consciousness socialist/'60s/feminist aesthetic) shows through unattractively. However, I found the title story, which ran in the New Yorker a few years back, almost unbearably touching and heartbreaking.
i picked this up after enjoying a story of hers ("married love") in the new yorker, but after reading this and finding an earlier version of the same "new" story already published, i've come to believe she has nothing to say and rewrites this nothing often. wow, that sounds harsh. i just meant to say this book was a disappointment.
Terri Jacobson
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories by the British writer Tessa Hadley. The stories take place in England and Wales. Hadley's writes about different women coping with changes in their lives. The writing is superb. For example, Hadley writes of 2 characters "They are both in their early thirties, at that piquant moment of change when the outward accidents of flesh are beginning to be sharpened from inside by character and experience." And "There is no tedium like the tedium of twent...more
RH Walters
Her perception dazzles me.
I can’t remember what I read about Tessa Hadley’s collection of short fiction, Sunstroke and Other Stories, that inspired me to check out a copy. And after reading the collection, I still have no idea.

Hadley is a fine writer and carefully crafts her short stories, which take place in Britain, often in the 1960s and 70s. I enjoyed her writing, but her perspective on life was overall much bleaker than I subscribe to and enjoy.

The stories take an unromanticized look at life, love, relationships, an...more
Why do people do what they do, think what they think? Who better than Tessa hadley to tell us what they think. Flawed, fat, old, misunderstood; each character in the story comes to life in his/her relationship with the breath of life from Tessa's desciptions. An extaordinary collection.
Samantha Allen
Beautiful stories with strange endings that generally provide little to no closure. Lovely prose, though, and plenty of memorable characters. My favorite story in this collection was "Bloodbath", about two sisters venturing into adulthood.
Apr 14, 2008 Jean rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: short story lovers, psyche voyeurs, succinct prose obsessors
Shelves: short-and-sweet
Except for the first story, I thoroughly enjoyed every short story in this collection of Tessa Hadley... Each story contains flawed characters at a point of change in their lives, big or small, apparent or internal. Hadley manages to capture the emotional rumble underneath the surface with such succinct, poignant prose that makes you blush as you remember a time/situation when you felt echoes of the characters' thought patterns: their anxieties, squeamish/squirming moments, embarassments, awkwar...more
Jen Squire
I'm always interested in stories that work with "ordinary people" and lives. What I really admired in this collection is the thorough descriptions of the characters, appearances but also mannerisms. It makes them vivid to the reader - really inspired me to be conscious of how this places the reader in the story, and certainly something I need to improve in my own writing.

Some very powerful stories and well worth reading. I would have rated it higher but I started to feel that several themes were...more
This collection of stories are sososo pretty. Characters flutter in and out of each other's lives, grasping onto fleshy bodies in order to connect and disconnect. I like the subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle symbolization of eggs, and the weird doubling/patterning that materializes in the strangest ways. I was introduced to Tessa Hadley, like most others, from the New Yorker, and I adore the gasping, imperceptibly nuanced way she writes. It contains an exquisite movement to it and it's almost s...more
Scott E
An overall above average collection, although I may have rated a few stories higher than they probably should be in my rating system. I thought there were a couple of duds (The Enemy, The Eggy Stone), but most of the others were pretty good. I particularly liked the first two (Sunstroke, Mother's Son), and the last five with the exception of The Eggy Stone. I thought The Surrogate, originally published in The New Yorker, was the best of the bunch.
Overall: 3.7
I liked the short stories in this book, mainly because they were set in England and everything is better in England. My two favorite stories were "The Surrogate" about a college girl pining for her professor and finding a look-alike on which to play out her fantasies and "Exchanges" about two women who have come to a certain age and secretly want what the other has. "Matrilineal" was also very good about a girl who remembers a night when her mother left her father, but the mother denies that nig...more
Really good stories these are. Hadley is not very well known in The Netherlands, I think, but she deserves to be. Her stories may not have the force, scope and subtlety of the very best short story writers (William Trevor and Alice Munro come to mind), but they are very successful on their own terms. Nuanced portraits of (predominantly) women, often at some crossroads in their love life or family relationships.
Mar 21, 2008 James rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Short story writers and lovers of the craft of writing...
A great surprise. She's a crafty craftsman who can spin a tale. "The Eggy Stone" was my favorite story. Anyone who loves and desires to write short stories NEEDS to read this book. You have to pilfer everything she does lol. Only downside is the topic of infidelity gets a bit obtrusive after a couple of stories, yet it can be overlooked because her characters are so engaging.
Tessa Hadley's stories unfold with unflinching candor and clarity, yet with a gentle undercurrent that softens the edges and pulls them back from bleakness. The collection has its weak spots ("The Eggy Stone," in particular, feels thin against the rich layering of the other tales), but as a whole, it's arrestingly lovely.
Sep 10, 2007 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like short stories and/or enjoy having to intepret the deeper meaning of text
I have never been a huge fan of short stories. I have a hard time with them and I think it is because I never feel like I've had enough time to 'get into the story.' My mom recommended this book to me and she enjoyed the collection. There is a bit of a twist to each story.
I had mixed reactions to the stories, though they they share a style and themes. I felt most interested in the characters who had experiences similar to my own; she didn't help me connect with the other characters. (Or maybe I'm just a lazy reader.)
Abigail Schwartz
I thought the stories were masterfully written. The observations and character descriptions were really well astute. but somehow the subject matter left me a little dry. i think its because the themes of the stories were so similar.
Apr 07, 2008 Alan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: short story lovers
Pretty good collection of stories mostly set in academia amongst the middle classes of U.K. - a subtle and well written collection. Didn't get more stars due to repetition of theme and situation.
I'd never heard of Tessa Hadley until I heard an interview with her on a podcast. Great stories about relationships, especially forbidden ones, their consequences, and living with the aftermath.
It's the little reversals, regrets, reveals, reevaluations that are important in these stories. But the restraint and understatement - ever so English, I think - can become tedious after a time.
It's hard to rate of collections of short stories. I thought a few were quite powerful while others I din't particularly care for. The whole collection is about sexaul energy/sexuality.
Loved it. Each and every one, but especially Enemy and Sunstroke.

Hadley's style is real, readable, and relatable. I'm glad I've found this author.
Kasey Jueds
Probably my favorite Tessa Hadley book, a lucky find at my library. Totally brilliant, moving stories about relationships, parenting, women's lives.
Abby Sominski
Fantastic collection of short stories, I enjoyed each and every one of these stories - obviously some more than others but they were all good.
Sarah Harkness
These were excellent short stories, about love, sex, passion, and memories...putting things right, settling scores. really perfect gems.
An amazing collection, with poignant honest observations, and amazingly written. Each story left me breathless and in a hum of thoughts.
Sep 16, 2009 Alisa added it
Shelves: gave-up-lame
I'd been looking forward to reading this for four years. What a disappointment. I'm sure TH will redeem herself.../
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Tessa Hadley is the author of Sunstroke and Other Stories, and the novels The Master Bedroom, Everything Will Be All Right, and Accidents in the Home. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University.
More about Tessa Hadley...
The London Train Clever Girl Married Love and Other Stories The Master Bedroom Accidents in the Home

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“And that was true too, that was what the Culverts were like: crucified by their shyness and at the same time contemptuous of the world of ordinary people they couldn't talk to.” 1 likes
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