Tales of work, love and accidents. The day after the Bologna bombing of 1980, two foreigners travel towards Florence and wander into deep, deep trouble; in a London department store an academic is mistaken for a shop assistant and acts impulsively; two young people on a day-trip decide to visit a Soho sex-show; in a hospital in the Welsh valleys, a woman sits with her mother-in-law in the last nights of life – all this and more.
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What people have said about this book:
‘Some are dark and disturbing tales of lives viewed from under the mad end of a microscope, others are more of a glimpse of lives gone sideways.’ Alexei Sayle, comedian, author of Thatcher Stole My Trousers
‘Ordinary people are peculiar too, the poet Louis MacNeice reminds us, and this collection is filled with just such magical peculiarness found under the surfaces of the ordinary and the everyday. Grut does not judge but loves her characters for their oddities and differences, introducing them with a deft tenderness. These delicious, dark, funny and affecting stories – reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor – remind us that life does not come with simple solutions and that often it is in the terrifying messiness that we are the most alive.’ Tania Hershman, author of Some of Us Glow More Than Others
‘Here comes a bold collection of compelling stories from a prize-winning author. Her locations and landscapes range across work and domestic settings, friendships and marriages erupt in quarrels that are resolved in startling denouements. Vicky Grut casts a sharp eye over the linguistic clichés of office management speak, and her shifting tone varies from playful, witty, and tender; a love story that is affirmed in a tacky London sex club, to a deeply moving tale of loss and shock in the Welsh valleys. Her readers are in for a treat – and a rollercoaster ride of emotions, thrills and surprises.’ Patricia Duncker, author of Hallucinating Foucault and Professor Emeritus, Dept. of English, American Studies and Creative Writing, University of Manchester
Hermione Flavia on Craven Wild, ‘Never flowery and often enigmatic’; ‘thought provoking, clever and surprising.’ […] ‘I highly recommend this book, even if you think you don’t normally enjoy anthologies or short stories.’
Judy Darley on SkylightRain: ‘Vicky Grut reveals her knack for summoning up characters so real they’ll follow you around your house, loitering in your kitchen as you make a cup of coffee until you almost feel you should offer them one too.’ […] ‘ comedic, lyrical, or a shining blend of the two.’ […] ‘For me the most powerful piece was the non-fiction essay Into the Valley – a beautifully nuanced and tender portrait of Grace, a woman shuffling towards the final moments of her life. “The truth is that none of us knows what’s ahead. (…) We don’t know how to read what we see in front of us. We’ve never been here before. We have no maps. We are badly lost.” And yet, in the sweetness of her writing, the evident affection and humanity, Grut also reminds us that love is the vital antidote to that dread – the comfort that sustains us, no matter what.’
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Live Show, Drink Included: Collected Short Stories published by Holland Park Press on the 5th of October 2018