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More Sawn-Off Tales,

David Gaffney

More Sawn-Off Tales, David Gaffney


Publication Date: 15-May-13 | ISBN: 9781907773433 | Trim Size: 178 x 110 mm | Extent: 160pp | Format: Hardback

UK & International Distribution: Grantham Book Services | Publishing Status: ActiveShop online at HiveFind your local bookshop




In stories that are laugh out loud funny, cringingly weird and desperately sad., Gaffney introduces the possibility of momentary actions that change everything;  a swimming man sees a hundred glass eyes at the bottom of a river; a broken vase causes a couple to re-examine their relationship with the universe; a zoo with only three animals makes a man reconsider his relationship to his surrounding; and a comedian decides to expresses himself through the medium of smell.

Relationships begin, stutter, then crash to earth, each mundane transaction peeling away the everyday to reveal a canyon of emotion.
Gaffney’s characters are awkward, often disconnected, yet they are also profoundly sympathetic. With great empathy and generosity he reveals the idiosyncrasies, vulnerability, yearning, and twisted systems that governs our lives. In More Sawn-off Tales David Gaffney creates a deliriously lonely, yet lovely universe where strangers hand you their watch and an estranged couple try to communicate through paint colour. An expert miniaturist with the ability to stuff an elephant inside a flea without the insect noticing, Gaffney is like David Shrigley meets Curb Your Enthusiasm.


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Acknowledgements; Passing Place; Nerves; Hidden Obvious Typical; It Happens Inside; Oasis Leisure Lounge; Bleached Lichen Number Four; The Clever People Who Can’t Do Anything Useful; Mo’s Feet; The Zoo With Three Animals; Acceptable for Men to Like; Something Happened Here; Reekers; Functional Market Area; More Men Will Come; The Homes of Others; It’s All in Storage; Everything’s West of Something; The Three Rooms In Valerie’s Head; The Big Pub; The Joke About Todd Pokato; Lifting and Handling the Truth; The Building With the Hole; The Proper Care of Surfaces; The Receipt; The Smell Comedian; Get the Ball and Give It to Bobby Moore; The Gypsy in Me; New Audiences; The Power of Millions; Boy You Turn Me; It Doesn’t Really Matter If Things Die Out; Taped Over; Thrill Me Slowly; The Listed Bridge; The Good Machines; Happy Birthday, Hee Hee; The Scientific Explanation for Faraway Eyes; Can You Feel the Waves?; Let’s See What Rachel’s Been Up To; Nothing Can Hurt Me Now; Nineteen-Eighties Cavalier; The Man Who Was Always There But Never Said Anything; Blood in Flight; Lag Phase; Buy Yourself a Cheap Tray; Skewness; For The Lady; Other People’s Worlds; Inches From What You Want; Uncle Leonard; The Bad Psychiatrists; This Is Your Brain On Drugs; Doll Parts; The Woman With the Four Planks of Wood; Loss Function; The Bear’s Head; Like a Town; The Mousemats Say Innovate Or Die; Normal Hours; Private View; Dip Finish; DJ Stinger and the Ghost Alpcaca; Effective Calming Measures; How to Get Around in the Sky; As If You Are There; Talking to the Budgerigar; The Happy Spore; The Leaves Are Really Something Else; The Periphery is Everywhere; The Underpass; Two Columns; Eat Less Pastry; A Dress Code For Modern Musicians


“Reading David Gaffney's flash fiction feels a lot like travelling from an atom to a planet in the space of a minute. By turns sharp, poignant, surreal, lyrical and very, very funny, the collection reveals intense knowledge and control of the form, along with a desire to push the boundaries in every direction to see exactly how much flash can do (the answer: A Lot). His titles alone are miniature works of art; anyone who calls a story ‘The three rooms in Valerie's head’ or 'The mousemats say innovate or die' has to be a genius.” —Emma Jane Unsworth  


“These perfectly constructed fictions are eliptical, sharp, witty and dazzling. They're written with a poet's eye for detail and a novelist's appreciation of human faults and foibles. Another wonderful collection.” —Jenn Ashworth


“Gaffney's latest is a masterful taster menu, every mouthful wickedly inventive and deliciously absurd. Brilliant” —Adam Marek


More Sawn-Off Tales is rich with phrases which will stick in the reader’s memory (‘I keep a ball of tissue under my armpit and drop shreds of it into her food to keep her loyal’) and ideas which are ripe for expansion into longer stories, such as the psychiatrists who organise arts activities for their manic patients so that they can burgle their houses.” —Workshy Fop


“Bleached Lichen Number Four is one of the most heart-wrenching stories of the collection, and depicts a man who attempts to communicate to his ex-girlfriend through the colour of her favourite paint. It, like many others in this fantastic collection, is a clever and poignant exploration of what it takes to be connected to another.

With More Sawn Off Tales, Gaffney has created very short stories that offer full, vivid and complete worlds for the reader to inhabit, and once inside they won’t want to leave.” —Kylie Grant The List


“In More Sawn-Off Tales Gaffney demonstrates his mastery over flash fiction, as he evokes sadness and humour in equal measure through the often tragic but fully formed characters in 70-plus stories. ” —The Big Issue



“Loaded with potent charges, insidious and cumulative in their effects, in Gaffney’s fiction thoughts take physical form, and the material world has a surreal vitality. The stories are sometimes haunting, and sometimes comic.” —Times Literary Supplement


“Evanescent moments of connection and happiness. One hundred and fifty words by Gaffney are more worthwhile than novels by a good many others.” —Nicholas Clee The Guardian


“Utterly brilliant. Hilariously demented and wonderfully succinct. David Gaffney’s Sawn-Off Tales are little McNuggets of pure gold. This is writing at its best.” —Graham Rawle



David GaffneyDavid Gaffney comes from Cleator Moor in West Cumbria, and now lives in Manchester. He is the author of three critically acclaimed short story collections – Sawn-off Tales (2006), Aromabingo (2007) and The Half-life Of Songs (2010) – and the novel Never Never (2008). He has written articles for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times and Prospect magazine

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Best British Short Stories