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The Overstory
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Mothers by Chris  Power
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The Unwish by Claire Dean
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In November 2017, Nightjar Press published two chapbooks by Claire Dean: The Unwish and Bremen. In stark contrast to Bremen, this story begins in a determinedly domestic and ordinary style, but both ultimately explore similar themes, of being lost an ...more
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Bremen by Claire Dean
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I've never been to Bremen, but Claire Dean's short story made me feel like a) I really want to and b) I can picture it so vividly that it's almost as though I already have. It starts with a very intriguing vignette: a tourist is enticed to a stall by ...more
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Paymon's Trio by Colette de Curzon
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The background of Paymon’s Trio is interesting: the author wrote it in 1949, when she was 22 years old, and tucked it away in a folder until it was unearthed by a relative in 2016. I mention this particularly because it has flaws which are, perhaps, ...more
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The Automaton by David Wheldon
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Loved this unusual little story about a man who falls in love with a chess-playing automaton. The first-person account is framed as having been found among 'the effects of a British infantryman who fell in the Third Battle of the Aisne, May, 1918'. T ...more
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Trick by Domenico Starnone
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'I realised that the more one aged, the more it mattered to stay alive.'

I've been a cheerleader for Domenico Starnone ever since reading First Execution, the first of the three (so far) of his books to have been translated into English, three years
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The Winter’s Child by Cassandra Parkin
The Winter’s Child
by Cassandra Parkin (Goodreads Author)
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Winter reading for winter weather. Loved the setting (Hull) and the opening chapter: Susannah, whose teenage son Joel has been missing for five years, visits a fortune-teller. She's given three predictions, including the promise that Joel will come b ...more
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Asta’s Book by Barbara Vine
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A lovely, rich, often complex historical mystery/family saga of which I'm tempted to say something like 'books like this don't get written anymore'; I'm sure they do, of course, they just rarely appear on my radar. But this one did, and for that I am ...more
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Last Train to Helsingør by Heidi Amsinck
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The title story, which opens the collection, is as though Jeremy de Quidt's 'The Wrong Train' has been rewritten for adults by someone who's recently read Robert Aickman's 'The Hospice'. It's a promising start, and many of the other tales live up to ...more
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The Ghost Stories of Muriel Spark by Muriel Spark
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This hard-to-get-hold-of New Directions paperback contains eight short stories. I had read two of these – 'The Girl I Left Behind Me' and 'The Leaf-Sweeper' – in anthologies, and found both intriguing but flawed: the former gives away its whole plot ...more
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Andrew O'Hagan
“I had once asked him if he felt happy hiding in the internet and he said yes, it was his home. On a good day it is the bright field that contains all souls but on a bad day it is the final darkness, where misery is gapingly exposed.”
Andrew O'Hagan, The Secret Life: Three True Stories

Emma Jane Unsworth
“These things you treasure, how often they're somebody else's trash.”
Emma Jane Unsworth, Animals

Claude Houghton
“If love is what the world thinks it is," she went on with passionate emphasis, "then I am incapable of it. It is monotony, and I loathe monotony more than anything else in the universe. To live with a person, year in, year out; to see that person at nearly every meal; to hear his opinions again and again! My God, is that what they call love? I call it death! I need passion, colour, the unexpected—the romance of the unknown!”
Claude Houghton, I Am Jonathan Scrivener

Emma Jane Unsworth
“Where were my allies? My sad captains? Those moonsick girls I drank with over long winters behind the bowling alley, driven there in cars we didn't know. Those times when we were all strangers and everything was so far away but all we needed to do was run towards it. I had not grown much. I had not reached anywhere. I was still running. When I wasn't lying down.”
Emma Jane Unsworth, Animals

Jami Attenberg
“What do you do when you already know what your problem is? What if it's not really a problem? It's only a problem if I want a relationship. If I want to fit into a conventional mode of happiness. It's only a problem if I care. And I can't tell if I care.”
Jami Attenberg, All Grown Up

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