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.
"It is good, too, to be reminded that Gardam is as brilliant a short story writer as she is a novelist.... Gardam, like Penelope Fitzgerald, knows the supreme art of what and exactly how much to leave out...this is a deeply, impeccably humane and pleasurable book." (Neel Mukherjee, Independent)
"Beautifully formed short stories.... Gardam writes with wit, harnessing an expert use of dialogue to bring her characters to life...written by arguably one of our greatest living writers, the moments depicted in The Stories will certainly resonate long after the last page has been turned." (Daily Express)
"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." (Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday)
"There is little Gardam doesn't know about being in love, or any of the other vicissitudes of ordinary life...her funniness does not cease to sparkle, but she moves as surely as she entertains." (Telegraph)
"It is Jane Gardam's particular gift to be able to shine a light through these unexpected peepholes, straight into the human heart...marvelous." (Spectator)
"Full of wit, unexpected turns of events and splendid writing." (A. S. Byatt, Guardian)
"I adored Jane Gardam's The Stories. She does fiction as it should be done, with confidence and insight." (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Observer)
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