A treasure trove of short stories from the beloved author of the Old Filth trilogy.
Throughout her career, prize-winning novelist Jane Gardam has been writing glorious short stories, each one hallmarked with all the originality, poignancy, wry comedy and narrative brilliance of her longer fiction.
Passion and longing, metamorphosis and enchantment are Gardam's themes, and like a magician she plucks them from the quietest of corners: from Wimbledon gardens and cold churches, from London buses and industrial backstreets. A mother watching her children on the beach dreams of a long-lost lover, an abandoned army wife sees a ghost at a moorland gate, a translator adrift in Geneva is haunted by the unspeakable manifestation of her own fears, and a colonial servant wreaks a delicious revenge on her monstrous masters. Gardam's cast is wide and wonderful, saints and mystics, trollops and curmudgeons, yearning mothers and lost children, beloved figures such as Old Filth and less familiar - but equally unforgettable - characters like Signor Settimo, the sad-eyed provincial photographer marooned in Shipley or Florrie Ironside, the ferocious matron he seduces.
With a mischievous ear for dialogue, a glittering eye for detail and a capacious understanding of the vagaries of the human heart, Jane Gardam's stories will captivate, sadden and delight.
She has the Austeneaque quality of being satisfying and disquieting, conventional and experimental . . . conversational, lucid, realist yet fantastical, she can be outrageously funny, gradually revealing her characters by what is not said, and not seen . . . one of our greatest living writers - Independent on Sunday
Pure delight - The Times
Each one of these narratives - none of them afraid of looking into the great terrifying secrets of love and grief, death, ageing and faith in a mere handful of pages - make the heart race. Sly, sharp and mischievous . . . It is Gardam's gift for the ecstatic, for showing us what a place of wonders is the world and the hearts that dwell in it, that endows this collection with a dangerous and formidable energy. She gives us miracle heaped upon miracle - Guardian
Full of wit, unexpected turns of events and splendid writing - Guardian
Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our finest writers.