Astral Travel, about a charismatic but troubled Irishman and his effect on his family, explores the way that the secrets forged by cultural, religious and sexual prejudice can reverberate down the generations. It’s also about telling stories, and the fact that the tales we tell about ourselves can profoundly affect the lives of others. In a framing narration that exposes the slippery and contingent nature of story, an adult daughter, brought up on romantic lore about her now dead father but having experienced him very differently, tells how she tried to write about him, only to come up against too many mysteries and clashing versions of the family’s past. Yet when a buried truth emerges, the mysteries can be solved, and, via storytelling’s power of empathy, she finally makes sense of it all.
'Baines’s beautiful, evocative and insightful writing transforms what might have been a difficult, family drama into something far more extraordinary and optimistic. At its heart, Astral Travel is a novel about both the slipperiness of story-telling and its redemptive power. An utterly beguiling read!' —Deborah Grace, Open Up Magazines
‘A fine novel, written with great skill and empathy.’ —Susan Osborne, A Life In Books
‘The writing is vivid, buoyant, incisive ... vibrant evocation of time and place - and the power of the human mind to transcend both.’ —Confingo Magazine
‘Life is a series of might-have-beens, near-misses and what ifs. This is a tremendous collection of stories. They do not seek to be didactic, but may nonetheless give many of us who read them cause to reflect on the choices we have made in our own lives, and to be more mindful of the options which open in front of us every day.’ —Cath Barton, The Short Review
‘Highly readable, thought-provoking and with beautiful use of language, this collection is a rich and unexpected delight.’ —JJ Marsh, Bookmuse
‘Used To Be shows the ordinary for what it is. It reminds you that everyone is in the same boat if not on the same deck, and it’s written with a meticulous eye to detail. It’ll blow you away when you least expect it.’ —Charlie Place, The Worm Hole