Winner of the 2011 Edge Hill Readers’ Prize
The characters in this award-winning debut collection are very good at losing things: children, lovers, hope, the plot. They discover the past is not a place easily escaped from, as it pursues them with startling, sometimes horrifying, consequences.
A writer takes his research a little too far; a couple, stricken with guilt and grief, prepare a last meal; a group of swingers is rocked by the arrival of a new couple; a man takes a train journey to learn how to kill again; a deformed brother and sister exact revenge half a mile underground; a modern-day messiah astonishes a criminal gang, and a father is forever tormented by the few minutes his back was turned.
It’s impossible not to connect with these lives and the things that happen to them remaining with you long after reading. Provocative and bold, these stories will get under your skin.
‘Emotionally powerful.’ —Susie Macguire, author of The Short Hello and Furthermore
‘These stories are sensational. Beautifully written, impeccably timed. Vowler’s characters live with heightened sensitivity, as if in the wake of some disaster.’ —Luke Kennard, author of The Migraine Hotel and The Solex Brothers
‘Gothic wit and cracking dialogue grounded in the author's
genuine sympathy for his characters. A seriously gifted debut.’ —Mike McCormack, author of Notes From a Coma
‘Vowler's characters hurtle merrily towards self-annihilation so that we don't have to. The kind of book you read in tongue-sticking-out tension, your patience rewarded as he takes turn after salacious turn.’ —Wena Poon, author of Alex y Robert and Lions In Winter
‘I admired the sheer style of the writing, as well as the wryness and authority of the narrative voice. I kept reading out of admiration for the prose (particularly the dialogue).’ —Will Atkins
‘Vowler is not afraid to be new, to be dangerous with it and flaunt his talent. Composed beautifully and saturated with insight and compassion.’ —The Short Review