Tender, precise, comic and chilling by turn, the stories in A.L.Kennedy’s new collection confirm her reputation as one of the most exciting new writers to have appeared in the last decade.
Exposing and exploring the sinuous undercurrents of violence anguish and love, she examines the nature of the individual, both in isolation and society, as characters define and deny their chosen identities. While showing us the unlikeliness of intimacy and the impossibility of communication, Kennedy also reveals the subversive liberation of impotence, the humour of discomfort as human beings chafe together, the crazed claustrophobia of the family and the wildly funny results of an eccentricity unleashed – the guru who recommends his disciples follow the example of the penguin, or the mordant and brilliant “Mouseboks Family Dictionary” where Life is cross-referenced to Bad Joke and What You Deserve.
Told with economy, dramatic insight and tremendous empathy, these stories demonstrate a radiant and versatile talent: a writer who has the rare gift of understanding, in equal parts, elation and despair.
..the metaphysical complexities underlying Kennedy’s themes are simply beyond the grasp of most of her contemporaries.
Gavin Wallace – The Scotsman
She is never better than when she is being truly comic.
Katherine Bergen – The Times
Kennedy can be funny, deadpan, angry, tender and despairing. This book of short stories is a showcase for her wildly versatile gifts.
A.L.Kennedy is worth waiting for.
Kate Kelloway – The Observer
ALK: If only more people thought that way.
A.L.Kennedy has a gift for getting inside people’s heads.
Andrea Ashworth – TLS
When character is reduced to feeling the result is not grown-up stories but melodrama and fairy tales..
Julian Evans – The Guardian
..thecollection as a whole is vitiated by a wilful obscurity which borders on arrogance.
David Robson – The Telegraph
ALK: Lovely word, vitiated.
I found myself distractedly wondering why so many writers whose first names begin with “A” hide behind initials… what’s their problem?
Mike Petty – Literary Review
Salvaging these broken lives from history’s scrapheap, Kennedy deliberately discards the tidy wrappings of conventinal literary genres.
Julian Loose – Sunday Times