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Sweet Home

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  121 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
A bereaved mother borrows her next door neighbor’s baby. An outsider builds a gingerbread house at the edge of an English village. A woman is seduced into buying special-offer babies at the supermarket. A father is reminded of his son as he watches the rescue of a group of Chilean miners. A little boy attempts to engineer a happily ever after following the death of his sis ...more
Paperback, 156 pages
Published November 9th 2012 by Salt
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3.5 stars As with virtually every short story collection, there will be stories you love and stories you don't love as much. This collection focuses on domestic life, that of parents, children, and families in general. But they all are twisted in some way, whether they be fantastical or horrific. The cover of this book is a pretty spot-on representation of what these stories are like. My favorites included: "Just in case," "Wooden mum," "The countdown," and "Love: terms and conditions."
Feb 01, 2016 Kaitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*This book is one I was sent for review from the publisher at my request, but this does not affect my opinions*

I ADORED this book. My friend had recommended this to me before, and I had seen it generally on other people's videos and recommendations list, but I never knew what I was missing out on. This is an incredibly emotional, intense and deep look at family dynamics, grief, happiness, loss, personality, disease, mental health and so much more. The stories within this deal with a whole range
Jen Campbell
Nov 08, 2012 Jen Campbell rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful short story collection. It won Salt Publishing's Scott Prize, and it really doesn't disappoint. The stories will haunt you, and trouble you; they'll also tug on your heart strings and make you tear up. One of the stories (The Rescue) made me cry. The theme of family runs through all of the tales; Carys writes about the things people don't talk about, the hidden emotions of family life, the things that go on behind closed doors and inside the minds of children and parents. She ...more
In all honesty this felt like a 4 but I'm giving it a 5 because I think I did the old 'put it on a pedestal and then when you finally read it it's not as good as you'd hoped forward slash it's not you it's me' trick. Perhaps I savoured it too long and should've read them in a week rather than a month. Perhaps they will sink in over time. I hope they do. I hope these stories stay with me forever. They are beautiful and eerily mesmerizing leaving you with a sweet chill hovering over your spine. So ...more
Jun 17, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it
Published by Salt Publishing in October last year, Sweet Home is a collection of short stories by Carys Bray, and was the winner of the Scott Prize.

In Sweet Home we find a collection of 17 stories, all of them explore some dark issues in suburbia. Themes of loss, motherhood, regret and hope are woven through this exceptional collection of tales. Carys Bray has the ability to draw the reader in from the first sentence, not letting go until the end. I often find short stories unsatisfactory, almos
Tim Love
Apr 18, 2016 Tim Love rated it liked it
This was first published by Salt in 2012. It contains stories from MsLexia etc. Most are about 10 pages long, though some are much shorter. There are many troubled parent-offspring relationships, several ill/trauma'd kids and people who like order in their lives. It's common for parents to flashback to their childhood, to compare themselves with their parents. In "Bodies", Dad speaks. "'The world is full of tragedy,' he said, shaking his head sadly, as if the world was nothing to do with us.", p ...more
Patty Killion
May 28, 2015 Patty Killion rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2015
Sweet Home is a book of dark, funny short stories.
To just mention two stories....a bereaved mother borrows her next door neighbor's baby. An outsider builds a house of at the edge of an English village...I'm not going to share any of the other stories with you because those you must experience yourself.
The author delves into the lives of ordinary people and discloses frustrated expectations, loss and disappointment.
It is a fantastic read!!
This book will go on my re-read shelf!!
Janet Emson
Feb 17, 2016 Janet Emson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, reviewed
I received a copy of this book from the author and this is my honest review.

This is a collection of seventeen short stories, linked by the theme of parenting and the idea of home. There are stories of trying to parent according to self help books, a twist on the tale of Hansel and Gretel and tales of the disappointment of parents when they realise that they have done the things they promised themselves they would not do 'when they had kids'.

There are examples of writing that are raw, full of sad
Jo Barton
Mar 08, 2016 Jo Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The seventeen stories which make up the short story collection found in Sweet Home explore the very ordinariness of everyday life and yet, the stories themselves are all far from ordinary. Delightfully quirky, often with a twist you don't see coming, the stories are a perfect example of the short story genre. All are crisp, beautifully observed vignettes which individually highlight the vagaries of modern family life and which tug away at your consciousness until the stories get right into your ...more
Debbie Kinsey
I haven’t read a short story collection in ages and I can’t believe I left this sitting on my shelf for so long. Sweet Home is a collection of stories about childhood, parenthood, and loss. Some have a magical realism / fairytale aspect to them, and others are realism, but all have an element of darkness or sadness. All of the stories are strong, and they manage to both stand on their own and hang together really well. A collection without an odd ‘weak’ story is a rare thing.

Although difficult t
Rachel Hall
Apr 17, 2016 Rachel Hall rated it liked it
After reading the splendid A Song for Issy Bradley and being thoroughly impressed with Carys Bray's ability to tackle the emotional landslide of a child's death and how a religious family are able to move forward I was keen to sample more of her work. Sweet Home is a collection of seventeen short stories principally surrounding the idea of home, parenting and family life and I was once again struck by Carys Bray's ability to put words to the myriad of emotions which fill every home and this coll ...more
Alix Long
Mar 04, 2016 Alix Long rated it really liked it
Sweet Home is a collection of short stories particularly on parents and parenting, but also just on life and the many foibles of humanity. With an eccentric and ethereal voice Carys Bray explores what it means to feel, what it means to live and what it means to simply be.

To put it simply, I adored Sweet Home. As with all good short story collections, each story brought something different to the mix: humour, lyricism, grief, regret, and hope. Each story has a steady grounding in suburban life, b
A short story collection based around the themes of parenting and home life.

Sometimes weird, sometimes sad, sometimes just plain odd, this is a great collection of short stories. Standouts for me were "The Rescue" in which a father equates the rescue of the Chilean miners with his drug-addicted son; "The Countdown", in which a father-to-be worries about the imminent arrival of his first baby, and "Love: Terms and Conditions", where a mother vows not to make the same mistakes as her parents did.
Pamela Scott
Sweet Home is a great collection of stories. The stories are all quite dark at times but not too dark if you know what I mean. The collection is tinged with moments of sadness. The stories tackle the themes of loss, motherhood, hope and regret and all contain an echo of pain. I really loved the way Bray uses magical realism and fairytale elements. Every story in this collection works well on its own merit and perfectly as a collection. It’s rare to find a collection of stories without at least o ...more
Laura Wilkinson
Nov 23, 2012 Laura Wilkinson rated it it was amazing
In Carys Bray’s prize-winning collection of short stories the dark, painful and unexpectedly tender moments of family life are explored with forensic precision. I haven’t admired a single author collection as much since Claire Keegan’s Walk the Blue Fields.
Sweet Home is a stunning and important piece of work. Vividly written with a keen eye for the truth, no matter how uncomfortable that might be, and laced with humour, Bray cuts to the heart of the human condition in both prosaic and fantastic
Aug 05, 2013 Mollie rated it really liked it
Intense moments of shock, grief and trauma are rich subject matter for short stories, but in this impressive début collection Bray focuses not on the dramatic incident itself, but on the life that must be lived despite it: rather than the death of the sister, it's how the brother exists alongside his own grief and the grief he sees in his family; it's not the rescue a father makes of his drug-addict son, it's the reality of how such a desperate desire can become the background texture of every, ...more
Sheela Word
Dec 22, 2012 Sheela Word rated it really liked it
This is an excellent set of stories focusing primarily on the relationships between nuclear family members. The stories are serious in tone and often have ambiguous endings, so if you are looking for a light read, this is not it. However, the author has a real talent for making the ordinary extraordinary, and vice versa.

The first story, “Everything a Parent Needs to Know,” describes the fraught relationship between a mother and her petulant ten-year-old daughter. The mother relies heavily on mod
Dec 10, 2012 Andy rated it really liked it
'Sweet Home' is a heart-breaking and beautiful collection of stories, bringing the great tradition of the observed word, expression and material detail into a distinctly-located voice. Like Munro and Carver, Carys Bray brings us to her landscapes and living rooms: the final story weaves the everyday experiences of a trip 'On the Way Home' into a chain of implicit interactions. The spaces and voices of the collection are recognisible for their psychological accuracy, often turning the camera on t ...more
A.J. Ashworth
Jun 17, 2013 A.J. Ashworth rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable - and dark - exploration of parenthood and the world of the family. Parental fears and anxieties are laid bare in the likes of 'The Countdown', where a father-to-be imagines the various ways he could accidentally kill his child. And there are flashes of the fairy tale too, especially in the title story 'Sweet Home' where a woman builds a gingerbread house in the woods despite opposition from the villagers. I loved 'Love: Terms and Conditions', which impressively highlights the diffe ...more
Shirley Golden
Jan 22, 2013 Shirley Golden rated it it was amazing
The stories in 'Sweet Home' are powerful, engaging and touching. Although Carys Bray selects domestic settings, sometimes with a surreal edge for her stories, they are far from ordinary. They explore fear and loss, sometimes from a parent's perspective, sometimes from a child's, and are always believable. Carys has a particular talent for seeing things from a child's viewpoint and this is highlighted in her sharp dialogue. My favourites included, 'The Rescue', which explores loss using intellige ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Emily rated it liked it
These were very mixed - some fantasy, some more real-life, some believable, others ridiculous. I enjoyed some of them - especially reading the one which later was to become part of the "Issy Bradley" novel :) I tend to get annoyed with short stories though as I want to know what happens next!
Jul 29, 2014 Debs rated it really liked it
Excellent. Like the BEST box of assorted chocolates anyone could wish for. I loved being able to read the short story which inspired Carys's debut novel 'A Song for Issy Bradley' which was also excellent and devoured as joyously as these little gems.
Katie Yu
This book really surprised me. I went in with somewhat of an expectation, and came out mind-blown. I knew this was about family, but the way that each story is written is so unique and realistic. Usually from a mother's point of view, the novel focuses on a different aspect of familial dissonance, love, etc.
It really hits home at times, but I think I would have even enjoyed it more once I'm in my 20s or 30s. I need to reread this so many times. It's such a crisply written book of short stories.
Sep 05, 2014 Judith rated it liked it
Nice collection of short stories. Really interesting to see one about Issy Bradley in there too - obviously the one she developed further.
Natalie Bowers
'Sweet Home' by Carys Bray. Oh my goodness. What can I say about this book other than, ‘READ IT!’? It’s a collection of short stories that are just achingly beautiful and even, on occasion, heart-rending. Quite often, I steam my way through short story collections like a child chomping its way through a bag of pick ‘n’ mix, but with this collection I found myself having to stop after each one to let it sit, to let myself ruminate and recover. The stories are mostly set in the ‘real world’ and de ...more
Finished as part of Dewey's 24hr Readathon, April 2016

I was a little underwhelmed by this collection. It is quite maternal, with the stories very much focusing around family, motherhood, pregnancy etc. Unfortunately, I am the furthest thing from maternal and so it fell a little flat for me.
Mar 06, 2016 Hayley rated it liked it
I find a lot of short story collections difficult to rate and review.As with several others recently I really enjoyed the first half and then found it a bit of a slog to get through the rest.Maybe I should try reading one story per day rather than binging lots at once.
Nov 04, 2014 Gretel rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Sweet Home is a superior collection of short stories from Carys Bray, an author I hope to hear a lot from in the future. Bray explores familial relationships with a lot of depth, considering how short each of the seventeen stories are. Her stories are stories that are easy to become emotionally invested in; I found myself really drawn into them. For people that have already read A Song For Issy Bradley, it's worth reading the short story featuring some of the characters from the novel.
Aug 31, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strange short stories, very short. I can't say I had a favourite, 'favourite' is the wrong word to use for these stories. It's too happy.

I thought they were very well written considering how short each one was. They tended to end abruptly too but didn't make me feel like I was left hanging. I did feel a bit 'eh?' sometimes as I hadn't expected it to end so soon.

Each had the potential for a full on novel, fully loaded, though, if Carys wanted to she could write individual books.

Worth a read.
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