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Wish I Was Here

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  180 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
In this collection of stories, Jackie Kay explores every aspect of love - the most overwhelming and complicated of human emotions, exposing the moments of tenderness, shock, bravery and remorse that accompany its pursuit, its passions, its passing.
Paperback, 210 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Picador USA (first published May 16th 2006)
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Jul 27, 2015 Zanna rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of tales told in the voice of discarded or rejected partners; lovers left behind each in some different sense. Moving on has a certain cruelty and hardness about it from this angle, so this book is a welcome antibody in the plasma we inhabit of heartless individualism that discharges memes like 'get rid of everyone in your life who drags you down'. Here are the draggers, the losers, the people you've laughed off, shrugged off, the people not worth your regret. No regrets! We ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of fine fiction
Did you ever start reading a book and just a few sentences in feel like you have to stop, look away, take a breath because it's so damn good? That's what reading Jackie Kay is like. I'd known of her as a poet but not as a fiction writer. God she's good. Whether she's writing about a couple on the verge of splitting after years together, with the one who's leaving constantly, annoyingly, quoting Martin Amis, or a woman who's given birth to a daughter that's a fox (but how she loves her), or a div ...more
Aug 25, 2013 Ann-lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
What most captivated me about this book was the humanity (humanness?) that carried every story, every sentence. You cannot judge the characters even if they are flawed, because they are human. So beautifully, a little sadly and a little happily human. The writing makes you accept them.
Nov 26, 2012 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read lots of this on the train to/from work and spent much of it crying. Don't be put off, however! It may be heart-wrenching at times, but it's worth it. Brilliant.
Xueqi Teo
Jan 24, 2015 Xueqi Teo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A series of short stories that revolves around ordinary lives but deep & brutal to the root issues. I loved how sad truths are expressed so beautifully. Favorite ones include 'You go when you can no longer stay', 'Blinds', 'My daughter the Fox', 'Not the Queen', 'Pruning' and 'Sonata'. Basically all the stories are unique.

Favorite quotes:

“I've started to feel very odd within my own life. It's most peculiar to feel lonely inside your own life.”
“When it rains like that, dark in the afternoon,
May 15, 2016 Aldi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, short-stories
Some of these were very good (I liked My Daughter the Fox, Sonata, and The Mirrored Twins especially), but I found myself getting a bit grumpy with the (non-)endings, most of which are wide open and/or too abrupt for my liking. I'll definitely check out her novels at some point though.
Pamela Scott
HIGHLIGHTS: The strongest stories in this collection were You Go When You Can No Longer Stay, Wish I Was Here, The Silence and Sonata. The rest of the stories were good but these really stood out. In You Go When You Can No Longer Stay, two women cope in different ways with the disintegration of their relationship. In Wish I Was Here, the title story, a woman follows her best friend and her new lover to their holiday getaway like a creep stalker. In The Silence, Kay uses a split narrative to show ...more
May 01, 2011 Frances rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Her writing is so nice and easy/accessible even though she's writing about pretty depressing stuff.

This book is all about all sorts of relationships, a lot about relationship breakdowns and all seem so apt and real but all are so very different.

Looking forward to reading more of her short stories as this is the first collection of hers that I've read.

Finished approx 20/04
Sioned Raybould
Jackie Kay deserves the title of Literary Genius, she deserves to become a classic and to be remembered and celebrated centuries into the future for her beautiful prose. I studied Kay's Trumpet in my first semester of university and absolutely loved it, then came across Red Dust Road and Wish I Was Here in second-hand book shops and picked them up, adding them to my summer reading pile. I don't regret picking up either of these books as they are both wonderful reads. Despite the fact that I usua ...more
Feb 06, 2012 Lera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very readable, beautifully written short stories - its not often I so rapidly care about the characters. I was especially concerned about the two blokes going for a hike in "The mirrored twins". "My daughter the fox" was a surprising and touching fantasy dropped in the middle.

This one a gift from Clare & Ian.
A mixed bag of short stories - some merely so so but some good 'uns. I particularly liked "How to get away with suicide", the one about the woman who looks like The Queen, the woman who has a fox for a daughter.

Best line "You can get through anything wey the help o' a scone"
Carolyn Roberts
Jan 23, 2016 Carolyn Roberts rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this. Her stories are very short - usually short enough to read on a train journey to work, so it's a perfect commuting book. They're almost all stories about couples who are breaking up or falling in love, and they are very believable. MIght find some other Jackie Kay books to read.
A real mixed bag of stories. Some were very good (Not the Queen, The Mirrored Twins & How to Get Away with Suicide) but a couple were dreadful (My Daughter the Fox and The Silence).
Jan 06, 2011 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I did Why Don't You Stop Talking, but it's still a really awesome book. I just love the way she writes, her use of language, everything.[return][return]As with her previous short story collection, most of these are about queer people (mostly lesbians, though the last story is about gay men), though this time they seem to be mostly not about people of color (only two (IIRC) are specified as being PoC and many are specified as being white, with a few that don't ...more
Oct 27, 2015 Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, witty and eminently readable, but very often emotionally harrowing.
Aug 03, 2015 Johanne rated it liked it
Melancholy collection of tales of love that has gone wrong in some way. Beautifully written but sad
I found these stories all a bit too similar, mostly seemed to be about long term couples splitting up. Sometimes felt I was reading the same story over and over again...
Some fabulous; some indifferent. I was generally impressed though so will be trying one of her novels sometime.
June anne
i just love Jackie Kay's stuff.... short stories to make you think, even if the themes are a bit repetitive
Nov 06, 2010 Libby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting, good writing but painful emotionally. I couldn't finish it.
May 01, 2013 Yeemay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some lovely observations about love and life. Hope she writes a novel soon.
Jul 31, 2012 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories. Very enjoyable.
Carly rated it it was amazing
Jul 18, 2016
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Born in Glasgow in 1961 to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father, Kay was adopted by a white couple, Helen and John Kay, as a baby. Brought up in Bishopbriggs, a Glasgow suburb, she has an older adopted brother, Maxwell as well as siblings by her adoptive parents.

Kay's adoptive father worked full-time for the Communist Party and stood for election as a Member of Parliament, and her adoptive moth
More about Jackie Kay...

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“She walked on and on as though if she walked far enough she might walk this thing out of her. As if by walking long enough, hard enough, she might forget.” 4 likes
“When it rains like that, dark in the afternoon, you feel like you've been taken into the past.” 2 likes
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