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The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Everybody has their secrets, and in Sophie Hannah's fantastic stories the curtains positively twitch with them. Who, for instance, is the hooded figure hiding in the bushes outside a young man's house? Why does the same stranger keep appearing in the background of a family's holiday photographs? What makes a woman stand mesmerised by two children in a school playground, ch ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 22nd 2008 by Sort of Books (first published February 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.31  · 
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Kris - My Novelesque Life
DNF @ 26%
2008 (UK) and 2016 (North America); William Morrow

I am SUPER picky when it comes to short stories. I find that a lot of writers are unable to capture a story into a smaller format (after reading Alice Munro, the master, it's hard to read just any shorter piece). I will usually give my favourite writers a shot as you never know, right? After DNF another of Sophie Hannah's novel, I have been on the fence about trying another book.

I picked up this book in 2016 not knowing it was an antholo
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Little morsels of interesting stories but some of the endings felt like someone just grabbed that morsel away from me just when I was about to chew it.

I like the first story about a stalker, the third one with the repressed 'nice' person, and to a certain extent the one with the weird neighbours.
Renita D'Silva
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Lynda Dickson
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
This is a collection of ten short (albeit quite long) stories. I haven't read them all yet, so this review is for the first four stories.

In "The Octopus Nest", Claire and her husband discover a mysterious woman in all their holiday photos taken over the last ten years. But not all is as it seems. The ending will shock you.

In "Friendly Amid the Haters", our narrator deals with incompetence at every turn - until she reaches her breaking point. Just how far can things go over a stained carpet?

In "W
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Someone gave me a copy of this book and I had no idea what to expect when I started reading. Loved it! This is a book full of fantastically flawed people in quirky yet banal, sometimes desperate situations. A lot of fun to read.
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
“Everybody has their secrets,” insinuates the blurb on the back of this book, “and in Sophie Hannah’s fantastic stories the curtains positively twitch with them.”

True, but that’s only half the picture. Hannah has an uncanny knack for setting out her stories in such a way that you feel you could find your way blindfold amongst the Formica and office furniture, get comfy, maybe even a little bored because familiarity can breed contempt – only to find yourself tripping over the psychopath lurking
Stephanie Ward
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Fantastic Book of Everybody's Secrets' is a thrilling collection of short stories that will leave readers wanting more. I normally don't read short stories because it never feels like enough time to really develop deep characters or intricate plot lines - especially since some of my favorite genres are thrillers and mysteries. I recently read and reviewed another collection of short stories by this author, and I enjoyed them enough that I decided to give this collection a try. I'm so glad t ...more
Ploni Almoni
Jul 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Short stories. She isn't a good writer in Annie's meaning of "good". But she writes directly and to the point. Occasionally the characters exhibit startling insights which make the project worthwhile. I can't recommend Hannah's books as good literature-but I do find them very readable and enjoyable.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Somewhat uneven, but still worth a read. Some of the stories were very good.
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
The first story - The Octopus Nest - is fantastic and creepy as hell. The rest of the collection is pretty lackluster.
Siobhan Ward

This was... ok. I've read a couple of Hannah's other works and I think her strengths lie more in novel-length books than in short stories. It felt like some of the stories were too long and others didn't really go in any direction. Based on Hannah's other works that I've read and the book's description, I figured that this book would be a collection of thrillers/mysteries, but the stories just weird and off-putting more than anything. I dunno, not really my speed unfortunately.
Kathleen Kelly
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Secrets, everyone has them, no matter who you are and sometimes secrets should be kept just that, secrets. The Fantastic Book of Everyones Secrets is one of those books that, even though they can be categorized as thrillers, sometimes I just had to to laugh out loud. My favorite I think of all the stories is the one. Twelve Noon, where a woman who has finally decided to drive after a long time, gets confused over a street sign and what it meant. Another favorite is The Nursery Bear, about young ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I normally enjoy reading anything Sophie Hannah writes, but this was just a collection of short stories about ridiculous people getting themselves into ridiculous situations. Period. I did unexpectedly laugh out loud a few times during the first couple of stories, but it ultimately became repetitious, because although the characters and situations are all different, they're all too similar and depressingly not worth the effort. When I read a book I want to at least have one character to relate t ...more
Emily Benet
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I loved this collection of stories. I read it thinking it was going to be a novel but even then I wasn't disappointed! I loved the absurdity of some of the stories and their central characters, the creepy atmosphere, the sense of impending disaster - but these stories weren't depressing, they were intriguing. The only story that left me feeling dissatisfied was 'Nursery Bear' which was so ambiguous I went on google looking for an explanation. Apart from that I really enjoyed it.

DNF @ 31%

I tried to get through this book. The first short story was good. The second short story literally put me to sleep. The third one attempted to put me in a coma.

There is no engagement here; there is nothing exciting or particularly mysterious about these stories. Instead, them seem to only exist as a treaty on why I hate postmodern fiction.

While the idea of the work has promise, the stories literally go nowhere.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like Sophie Hannah. I like short stories. I do not like Sophie Hannah writing short stories.

The first and last stories were good,and all of the other stories started off well but then they either fizzled away into nothing or just stopped without explanation.

A frustrating and disappointing read.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I adore Sophie Hannah's work. I am in the process of reading all of her works that I can get my hands on, and have enjoyed them all so far... except this one. Story after story ended, and I thought "What was the point in that?". These still show Ms Hannah's realistic, fleshed out characters, but, with the exception of the last story, they just felt unconcluded. ...more
Katie Grainger
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets I don't often read short stories and I must admit I picked this up by accident. The first story in the book is really good but after this it goes downhill. I can't say I enjoyed any of the others and one I gave up with. ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it
this Is a good book of short stories. All with a psychological twist. some of the endings are a little too oblique for my taste but an excellent book for a vacation or to listen to on a long car ride.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Such a waste of time. The first story was interesting but then ending left something to be desired. All the stories from then were boring and hard to get through. It's just really weird and not in good way. ...more
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
A book of short stories; really enjoyed it, always makes a nice change to read something short and not too involved and Sophie does it very well.
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Series of chilling tales from crime writer Sophie Hannah's first short story collection.
Zoe Obstkuchen
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
I was massively disappointed with this book. I adore her poetry, but this book of short stories about thoroughly unpleasant people left me cold. It was a struggle to finish it
Nov 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Really average with a few really great stand out stories which raised my rating to a 3.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
Other than a couple of stories, the rest are not worth it. Perhaps read the first and last only would be my final recommendation.
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it
These short stories are certainly unusual, like nothing I have read before. Each one is an investigation into the hidden thoughts of the main character. Thoughts are swirling in one direction while the person is saying something in a different direction. Inner imaginations and desires are hidden by outer benign behavior.

The stories are a study in character and the psychology of the human condition. One person might be passive aggressive while another is a would be murderer. Each story centers on
Gretchen Bernet-Ward
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absorbing compilation of short stories which create a compact world of complex people. Each character is different but all have neurotic behaviour. Some are cringe-worthy, some are outlandish and some humorous but each story is an insight into our own behaviour and how easy it would be to slide too far and tip over the edge.

I found 'The Nursery Bear' gripping and 'The Tub' more explicit than I expected. These stories are perhaps for mature people who can see where the author is coming from an
Adam Thomas
Jan 17, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-noncrime
A very uneven collection of short stories, which I ended up reading slightly at random, as a rare foray outside the bounds of crime fiction.

The standout story is "The Octopus Nest", which is very clever and satisfyingly written. I also enjoyed the tense weirdness of "We All Say What We Want" and "The Nursery Bear", even though they both ended before an actual ending. The final story, "The Most Enlightened Person I've Ever Met", was a good short piece of dark humour.

But the rest of the collectio
Nov 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-books
2.5 stars. I don't think I have ever read a collection of short stories before. I thought I would give it a try because I like the author. Some of the stories were good and some were not. The problem was that most of them just seemed unresolved at the end. It was like you just started to get interested and then it ended. A few seemed to drag on and I skimmed a lot (especially Herod's Valentines). Overall glad to be done with this one. Not her best work. ...more
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Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her latest novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Two of Sophie’s crime novels, The Point of Rescue and The Other Half Lives, have been adapted for television and appeared on ITV1 under the series title Case Sensiti ...more

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