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Love Songs For the Shy and Cynical

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  48 reviews
The first love song in the world, as composed by a pig in the Garden of Eden.

The Devil, alarmed when his hobby of writing romantic fiction begins to upstage his day job.

A man finding love with someone who has an allergy to his happiness.

Another losing love altogther when his wife gives him back his heart in a Tupperware box.

By turns macabre and moving, horrific and laugh-o
Paperback, 230 pages
Published 2009 by Big Finish
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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MJ Nicholls
The stories in this collection use fiendish or fantastical conceits to emphasise the various vicissitudes of love that occur in our rude vicissitudinous lives. The prose herein is free from baubles (i.e. the writer isn’t straining to show his devastating cleverness and quick wit and slick phrasemaking to prove his MFA credentials [because he’s got none unless having written Doctor Who scripts counts as a credential (not to this reader it don’t)]) and this works for the tone of the stories en mas ...more
Tim Rideout
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Luxembourg had been misplaced in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.’

On a par with authors Miranda July and George Saunders, Rob Shearman’s collection of short stories uses the uncanny to tell us important things about important things.

Each story is an encounter with our world off by about 5°. The subject of each story is ‘love’. Not gushing, sentimental love, but real love. The kind that comes and goes. Mundane, exciting, sexual, platonic, long-lasting, fleeting, unrequited, selfless, selfish, ph
Cate Gardner
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Marvellous... of course. I did not expect otherwise. I now want to make a small nation disappear.
Duncan Wilson
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant selection of short stories from Rob Shearman. Each tale looks at various types of love in a wonderfully skewed way and the superb narration of these really adds an extra something. it is also worth listening to the interview at the end for added insight and a bonus track too.
Benedict Reid
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book made me cry. One story in particular just grabbed me. A few unsettled me. And then, yes, there were a couple that didn't work for me. But even the stories which didn't speak to me had a certain intellectual interest.
I don't tend to cry when I'm reading.
So I guess what I'm saying is that this is an extraordinarily good book.
Jamie O'Rourke
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection of stories here from the man to watch on the short story scene. Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical isn't like his previous collection in which every story was related to dearh in some way, but the theme of the book doesn't really interfere with the stories, leaving it more just a collection of random short stories (even if they were brilliant short stories), in this book however, the theme is front and center in every story.

Here the stories may not reach the same hights as
Sophie Noel
This was such a wonderful discovery.
As much as I like reading the best sellers and mainstream books that I can discuss with others, sometimes it's really nice to just pick something up something without knowing a single thing about it and just diving in. Honestly, I didn't even know this was a short story collection till I started reading. I just saw it was short and I loved the title so I broke out of my sometimes strict tbr schedule. Not a single one of my goodreads friends had this shelved (a
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
To be honest, I have no strong feelings about this book.

Robert Shearmen clearly has a vivid and twisted imagination, making for a totally unique selection of short stories. I did, however, find them to lack any real substance or meaning, and found that they were often provocative just for the sake of being provocative. 'The Creeping Thing' (the one about the dead cat) maaaay have stirred something deep down in the chasms of my heart, but other than that, I remain unchanged. Also worth nothing t
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a while, a book comes along that resonates with you so perfectly that every line seems to be a moment to be savored. I loved every story in this book - the sad, the strange, the humorous and the disturbing. The twists in each story, just a few degrees off from conventional reality, kept me eager to see where the plot and characters would take me. This book was a joy to read, and I only regret that I won't be able to read it for the first time again.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this as an audiobook and it has some short interviews with the writer where he talks self-deprecatingly about the stories and their faults but in spite of the flaws I just found them lovely and funny if the Sheen Bookshop had had a copy I'd have snapped it up in my way home, having just finished the last story which made me feel close to tears even though I'd be the first to admit it's a tiny bit corny.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
While I loved the other book of Rob Sherman's that I read this one just didn't do it for me. It was all horribly dull people in horribly dull relationships having bad sex. The first story about the Devil was nice but the rest really didn't do much for me.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Perhaps not as brilliant as Roberts first collection, love songs does supply the reader with stories of the fantastical and absurd with the idea of love and how it effects people being the purpose behind them.
Hassan Mallah
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nice mix of stories and well delivered by Big Finish.
I like the interview with the writer in the end, it adds a nice touch and more understanding to the stories.
Astra Halliday
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely bizarre in such amazing little ways. Highly recommend, it's a fun and breezy read.
David Hebblethwaite
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It has been around one -and-a-quarter years since I first heard of Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical, when it won the Edge Hill Readers’ Prize. I didn’t really know who Rob Shearman was (I’ve learned since that, amongst many other things, he wrote the episode of Doctor Who that introduced the Daleks to the revived series); but seeing him speak at the BSFA AGM later in 2010 only increased my interest in reading his work. Now I’ve finally done so, and more fool me for taking this long.

I’ve discov
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This should be a 3.5 stars rating. I bought this short story collection by Robert Searman after having loved a story of his in a haunted house anthology ("the house in the house in the garden..."), and seeing him compared to Neil Gaiman in many reviews at goodreads. While I have enjoyed many of these stories quite a lot (especially Road Kill, the creeping thing and luxemburg) I have to say that I still prefer Neil Gaiman, although the comparison may not be totally fair. Maybe it's not a good ide ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Robert Shearman returns with a thoughtful set of short stories about modern love. He has a unique voice that combines the macabre with notes of poignancy and humour. That comedy often comes from the rational way his absurd notions play out in a very English world of reserve and a desire to accommodate. He is well aware of the way that even the greatest dramas of our lives have mundane details written through them like the lettering in seaside rock. The Times Literary Supplement reviewer quoted a ...more
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book a bit more than I did. Some of the stories here are very inventive, some are very funny, some - ultimately - are very sad, yet - like Shearman's Tiny Deaths - I also found a lot of them very 'samey'. Especially in the conversational style of prose. Knowing Shearman started life as a playwright (well, perhaps not from birth but his writing life) is telling, because these would work very well as monologues (and having heard Shearman read from his most recent book - Every ...more
I didn't like it as much as the first one, which would also have to do with the subject matter of love. And even though these are not your average love stories, and still full of interesting and pretty original ides (e.g. the trees), or idea you really hoped someone would take up for short stories (e.g. a person being allergic to happy people), this time around I felt like a lot of the twists and turn were rather predictable, more so than in Shearman's previous short story collection.

Having sai
Nick Davies
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A delightful collection of short stories about love in all its varied forms, somehow saying a lot more about the reality of love by using some decidedly unreal motifs - road-kill, Stockholm Syndrome, ghost pets, biblical allegory and much more. It reminded me of some Dan Rhodes short stories I had read previously. Though two or three of the stories did feel slightly similar in their matrimonial mundaneness, and a couple were quirk without as much of a message, overall there was a lot of amusing, ...more
Kirstyn McDermott
Jul 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful collection of short fiction from the exceedingly talented Rob Shearman who, it seems, can put barely a foot wrong. Funny, heartbreaking, playful, thought-provoking and sometimes just downright strange ... each and every one of these tales will linger with you long after you've finished them. Shearman is a writer who employs words with surgical skill. Highly, highly recommended, as is his previous collection, Tiny Deaths.
Martin Livings
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book to bits; the conversational tone of it, the bizarre yet mundane events contained within... it's a book ABOUT love, but the stories aren't love stories, not in any traditional sense. Rob Shearman's voice comes through loud and clear here, making reading the book a strange kind of delight, like eating a box of chocolates with a guide sheet written in Swedish. You never know quite what you're gonna git!
Barry Bridges
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
Okay so I got the book thanks to Mr Shearman's involvement with Doctor Who. I'm not ashamed and I'm sure Rob would be pleased that fans find their way to his writing in this fashion. Love Songs is a very readable collection, at times macabre and at times poignant but whatever the story you are compelled to keep reading. My favourite...One Last Love Song - which validates that age old idiom...always save the best until last!!!!
Jay Eckard
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was a delight. The introduction nails it -- this books is light. Light in the touch of the author, light in the way a master artisan makes three strokes when a journeyman spends a night chiseling. And I agree with Shearman's own assessment that love requires short stories; each story is complete, thorough and not overburdened. I haven't enjoyed a short story collection as much, or have the stories remain in mind after finishing for a long time.
Jennifer Bell
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Shearman's writing is lyrical, concise and moving. These stories are all about love, but none of them are soppy or clichéd. Almost all of them left me feeling a little haggard and sad, but in a good way. Love is many things, but straightforward is rarely one of them. Shearman's stories couldn't be described as straightforward either. One or two of them totally blew my mind, and I have no idea what they were about, but I know they were good and they were a lot cleverer than I am.

Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I bought this last Saturday at an event in Orlando and actually had several really nice chats with the author. He was also kind enough to sign the book for me. These short stories are deftly and gently written with razor-sharp edges of darkness and comedy. Absolutely brilliant.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Fraser by: Robert Shearman
Way back at Aussiecon IV I met Robert Shearman and spent quite a bit of time chatting to him mainly about things Doctor Who but other things. A lovely person.

The stories in this book a really good, but they are not for the feint of heart, not by a long short.
Nov 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
It was alright, although some stories were stronger than others.
Dec 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not the biggest fan of short fiction but I thought this book was marvellous
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Robert Shearman has worked as a writer for television, radio and the stage. He was appointed resident dramatist at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter and has received several international awards for his theatrical work, including the Sunday Times Playwriting Award, the World Drama Trust Award and the Guinness Award for Ingenuity in association with the Royal National Theatre. His plays have been reg ...more

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