Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Pier Falls: And Other Stories” as Want to Read:
The Pier Falls: And Other Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Pier Falls: And Other Stories

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,420 ratings  ·  576 reviews
Mark Haddon, author of the international bestselling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Spot of Bother, returns with a collection of unsparing short stories

In the prize-winning story "The Gun," a man's life is marked by a single afternoon and a rusty .45; in "The Island," a mythical princess is abandoned on an island in the midst of war; in "The
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by Doubleday (first published May 5th 2016)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Pier Falls, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tibor I think the stories in this collection are brilliant and they reveal a massive amount about human nature and life. I really don't think there's any po…moreI think the stories in this collection are brilliant and they reveal a massive amount about human nature and life. I really don't think there's any point shying away from the darker aspects of life, not in real life, not in literature.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,420 ratings  ·  576 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Pier Falls: And Other Stories
This is a stunning collection of stories. I know Haddon's work from two novels, but never dreamed him capable of such amazing diversity. He effortlessly bounces through several genres in this book, and the writing is beautiful.

I expected the moving tales about sad and lonely people; Haddon has already demonstrated his abilities with quirky characters in his previous books. Here, we have Bunny, which is the story of an unhappy woman who is drawn into a relationship with her 500 pound neighbor, an
Diane S ☔
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another pretty darn good book of short stories. The first story is the title story and I loved it, how he showed how people's lives changed in an instant. What happened after, the journalists, people whom were there and survived and those, who didn't, but he also showed how quickly things, people and their lives go back to normal. How the collapsed pier just becomes background. So true to life. Also loved Bunny, a story with a surprise ending that packs a punch. In the Boys who left home to lear ...more
Peter Boyle
I finished The Pier Falls almost a week ago, but it hasn't finished with me. These haunting, startling stories still swirl around in my brain - nightmarish visions from a dark imagination. The author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time demonstrates effortless versatility with this stunning collection and proves himself an expert of the short format.

Be warned - there are few happy endings here. Bad things happen and lives change forever in an instant. In the title story a crowd o
"The Pier Falls" was my first introduction to Mark Haddon. He is clearly a talented author -- deftly managing to capture tension and drama, and honing in on the complexities of human relationships. However, this collection provided a mixed experience for me.

The first, and title story, about the collapse of a pier in a seaside town is brilliant. I held my breath while listening to the audio. Haddon had transported me onto that pier and made me experience the terror right along with the character
Mandy Radley
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Firstly let me say that I don't like and don't read short stories. But having read some good review and recommending it for the school library thought I'd give it a go. What can I say, brilliant, outstanding the writing was so descriptive that it just sucks you right into the story. All the stories I felt were quite dark and macabre but also interesting. I've given it 4.5 stars as no doubt with most short stories it leaves you asking questions and wanting to know more, especially in thi
Claire Fuller
Absolutely outstanding. This collection will definitely make it into my top books of 2016. They are exactly the kind of stories I like - where things happen, often bleak, sad things. These stories are about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, rather than many short stories which seem to be about extraordinary people in ordinary circumstances. In many of them Haddon gives a nod to the future - a little snippet of how someone's life will turn out. I loved that, but it just made me want ...more
(3.5) These nine stories examine what characters do and who they are in extreme, often violent situations. My three favourites were “Bunny,” reminiscent of The Fattest Man in Britain with its picture of a friendship between an obese man and a young woman who sees more in him than his size; “The Woodpecker and the Wolf,” a brilliantly suspenseful tale set in space – it reminded me of the Sandra Bullock movie Gravity; and “The Weir,” which imagines the unexpectedly lasting relationship between a l ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recently thought to myself that I need to read more short story books. I had no idea where to start. I added quite a few to my ever growing 'to be read' pile. Then this one popped up one day and I checked with my library and it was in. A few days later I had it and decided to flip through it. I have not read previous books by Mark Haddon so I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea what to expect from short stories either (I've read a few here and there, but less than a handful). I decided t ...more
Diane Barnes
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Only 3 stars for this collection of short stories, despite the fact that I have read Haddon's first two novels and really enjoyed them. All of these stories started strongly with interesting characters and plot lines, then disintegrated into........weirdness, for lack of a better word. I thought I was reading a beautifully phrased tale, but then it would dissolve mid-stream into fantasy or horror or science fiction, when that is not what I was prepared for at all. I was thrown off balance.

Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another short story collection that I enjoyed!! Thank you GR friend, Peter Boyle for giving it rave reviews! I’m not a fan of the short story. Perhaps because the stories are “short” and I don’t get a chance to connect with the characters. Author Mark Haddon pens stories with characters and situations that grab the reader. Haddon proves that a great story doesn’t need 20 pages of set-up. Haddon immediately gets to the meat of the story.

Haddon’s stories are imaginative, but not so far out there t
Amy Neftzger
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mark Haddon demonstrates extremely strong writing in this volume. He has a style that's slightly experimental and dances on the thin edge between reality and mythology. If you're interested in literary writing, this would be a great book to study because each piece is well-constructed and manages to engage the reader with unusual and intriguing characters that the reader can still connect with (even the odd ones).

While the stories may appear eclectic on the surface, some of the recurring themes
One of my GR friends really liked this collection of stories & I'd heard good things about the author, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The Pier Falls - is an overview of a disaster. Depressing & distant.

The island - the retelling of Ariadne's story (the traitorous gal who helped Theseus kill the Minotaur). Depressing & distant.

Bunny - Depressing & distant again, even though concentrates on just 2 people. I could never work up any empathy, though.

I quit. Why bother? I haven't really liked a sing
C. McKenzie
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of short stories that should be savored slowly. Each story delves to unexpected depths, revealing uncomfortable and often stomach-churning events that are the stuff our nightmares are made of.

One of my favorites was The Pier Falls, and it was almost a cinematographic experience. Tiny moments of the disaster are still vivid: the shock of crumbling wood and falling bodies, the small abandoned dog, its leash trailing behind, the young boy caught up in a loving embrace by a stra
Adrian White
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and consistently inventive. Each story is a world unto itself, perfectly imagined and realised.
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am not a horror reader. I avoid suspenseful movies and do not, as a rule, choose to read thrillers. But I loved this collection.

This is an anthology of psychological thrills and chills, as close to horror as you can get without being of that genre. Within these pages Mark Haddon has given free rein to his deepest, darkest imaginings. The stories in this collection reveal a fascinating look at the obsessions, delusions and quiet tragedies of human life.

Spine-tingling and joltingly electric, i
Conor Ahern
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This was a book that I began a long time ago and would entertain myself with as I waited for books I was more excited for to become free at the library. Yet the book is not necessarily deserving of such a second-rate denomination. From the get go, this book--with its electric title story--grabbed me with its vivid and powerful writing. As with most short stories, the author has a bit of trouble sticking the landing, and I'm not sure how many of these will stick with me, but this book was solid. ...more
Nick Davies
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Some short story collections are pretty, quiet, gossamer like, daydreams. Some feel like half-explored ideas, half poems, writing exercises.

This didn’t - it was powerful stuff. Haddon explores a number of ideas with a stark and dark manner - several of the stories dealing with horrible and depressing events, death and loneliness, beautifully done despite the fact some stories were difficult to stomach at times. The title story particularly strong, ‘Wodwo’ also a favourite, but no duds in there
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wanderbücher
Wow. I don't know what to say. This was totally unexpected.
This collection of short stories blew my mind, especially "Bunny" and "Breathe". Both stories were so deep and full of love and death. If you need something which isn't always "And they live happily ever after...", this is definitely the right book for you.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Each story is different in kind from the next - one is about exploration, another about an apparently real-life disaster, others yet about space or the retelling of a myth; but all are conspicuously well-written and Haddon segues easily from one style to another. All are big hitters - real, strong narratives not the vugue nuances os many contemporary stories. And all are about death and the facing of it. I really enjoyed them but most the first - the pier disaster - and 'Wodwo' which cleverly re ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
These tales evoked different feelings from me, and that is the best sort of story telling. This is a small excerpt that ached inside of me.
"You hurt yourself? How?"
"Wall." He nodded to one of the arches of the brick vault and she saw the bloodstains.
"I want it to stop."
"What do you want to stop?"
"Everything. I want everything to stop."
She pretended not to understand. She can see now that she was a coward...."

Isn't it something so many do, just ignore the cries of others? But this isn't th
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

All stories are very dark, what was a little surprise but nonetheless great. The theme was kinda the same for every story (in my opinion): different family constellations, different type of deaths and struggles and suffering.

The first story, named "The Pier Falls" like the title, stuck with me throughout the whole book. "The Gun" was the most boring story ever. Besides that every single one has aspects that make them great short stories.
Allen Adams
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing

There are relatively few writers who are capable of displaying mastery of both the novel and the short story. Granted, a good writer is a good writer, but many simply prove more adept at one or the other.

And then there are some – like Mark Haddon – who can do it all.

Haddon’s bibliography marks him as a writer of particularly diverse skills. His career began as a writer of books for children, but his 2003 debut novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The art of story-telling is not an easy one, and the art of telling a story with the added constraint of brevity is a greater challenge. I have always preferred short stories and flash fiction to full length novels. Not only is the short story is a display of the writer's creative prowess, but it is also a barometer of the reader's ability to savour a story. Like a wine taster who can judge based on sip of wine or a good chef who can identify the ingredients based on a bite of food, an experienc ...more
Doug Dosdall
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Looking at the reviews you get a sense of how diverse this collection is. People's favorites seemed to be rather varied. I personally wasn't all that interested in the title story which comes first but I'm glad I stuck with it because there are some beautiful and very moving stories in this collection. Can't pin down any one genre on these stories, they are all very different. My favorite was probably "The Woodpecker and the Wolf" which if sci-fi and is intensely moving and personal. Think a far ...more
Melinda Worfolk
Dec 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very dark, but pretty compelling. Some I liked more than others, but the ones I liked were very very good. I liked "Wodwo," "The Woodpecker and the Wolf," and "The Weir" quite a lot. "Wodwo" started out as a fairly acerbic account of a family getting together for Christmas, then changed quite abruptly into a tale of excitement and suspense, and then turned allegory perhaps. It's almost two different stories. Very unexpected.

I'd exercise caution if you're feeling kind of delicate while
Jonathan Maas
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fuller review hopefully to come, but for now the best short story collection I've read since Nathan Ballingrud's North American Lake Monsters: Stories. I might even have to give the nod to this one for its diversity. Some stories are set in the modern day, some in antiquity, some in space. Some are literature, some are action. Just incredible. ...more
Wendy Cosin
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Excellent collection of short stories which span several genres from realistic to sci fi to suspense. There was only one story that I did not like (The Island). The rest fully engaged me. My favorites were "The Woodpecker and the Wolf" - about a woman on a mission to Mars, "The Weir" - about a man recently left by his wife who rescues someone from a suicide attempt, and "Bunny" - about an obese man. Good story-telling and writing, with an emotional edge. ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading this as I'm styling it for Seeing Ear and I have to say I was a bit disappointed! Some of these stories have been published before in magazines or papers and so if you're looking for new content...there's not much! Some of the stories are good but others felt a little pointless. ...more
Moshe Mikanovsky
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Haddon is such a talented story teller, I was tempted to give this collection a 5-stars review, but I find it hard to give, to any collection of shorts, a perfect score, as there is always that one (or more) story that I didn't fully connect with. In this case it was the book's namesake, a morbid tale of disaster. I loved (!!) Wodwo, as well as Bunny, but all the rest were expertly told as well. ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Terrific collection: superbly written, with great attention to detail and atmosphere and wide ranging (one set in space, one on a mythical island, one in the Amazon jungle, the rest largely contemporary or within living memory). I was gripped and impressed. 4.5 stars - my only caveat was one or two seemed a little too long.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Man in the Mist
  • As They Slept (The comical tales of a London commuter)
  • Box Hill
  • This Is How We Are Human
  • Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die (Machine of Death, #1)
  • Summerwater
  • Beate e suo figlio
  • The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo
  • One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time
  • Rebuilding Coventry
  • Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the London Review of Books
  • How to Measure a Cow
  • Il giunco mormorante
  • The Red Convertible
  • Funny Little Snake
  • Growing Up Poor in London
  • Batlava Lake
  • Blue Dog
See similar books…
Mark Haddon is a British novelist and poet, best known for his 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. He was educated at Uppingham School and Merton College, Oxford, where he studied English.

In 2003, Haddon won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and in 2004, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Overall Best First Book for his novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-t

Related Articles

A family coalesces for a tense holiday in the English countryside in The Red House, the latest by the acclaimed author of The Curious Incident of...
23 likes · 9 comments
“Snow... blots and softens the top of every object like ice on a plum pudding. Hedges, telegraph wires, cars, postboxes, recycling bins. The world is losing its edges. Look upwards and it seems as if the stars themselves are being poured from the sky and turn out not to be vast and fiery globes after all but tiny, frozen things which melt in the palm of your hand.” 5 likes
“How alike they are, she and her mother, these blank sheets on which men have written their stories, the white paper under the words, making all their achievements possible and contributing nothing to the meaning. She” 1 likes
More quotes…