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Sweet Home

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  21 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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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
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
Jen Campbell
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
Laura Wilkinson
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
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
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
'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
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
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
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!
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.
Patty Killion
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!!
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
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.
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.
Several things:
-I don't fully understand the short story format. A few have stuck with me powerfully over the years - Yellow Wallpaper, Birthday Party, some of Flannery O'Connor's.
-I'm too close to many of the topics and therefore can't summon a critical response.
-The title story is very well written, and will probably stick with me.
Based on all that, I think they probably are very good short stories. But are short stories for enjoying? Or for sticking? I say sticking.
I give this book 4 dead babies out of 5.

Marie Brian
I read this earlier in the year and forgot to review it. This book of short stories is astoundingly good. Well-written, moving, and with just enough of a subversive undertone to captivate me. I love this book.
This book unsettled me. I wish I hadn't read it and I'm also glad I did. How our relationships develop with our children is one of the biggest joys and greatest challenges of our lives - Sweet Home explores the highs and lows, as well as the fantastical.
Managed to finish this over Christmas. The writer records the curiousness in the everyday with unnerving sensitivity and precision. Can't wait for more...
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