In keeping with his powerful first collection, A Little Javanese, these seven new stories by André Mangeot roam the globe, exposing human frailty in its many forms. In central Europe a wayward son takes up the reins of the family business; a journalist heads into the Sahara in search of her past; a retired Canadian teacher is forced to question much he has believed …
Flood, heat, desert and snowscape are here almost characters in themselves – edging certain stories to their climax, elsewhere simply observing how we humans write our own stories and endings.
Played out against the grinding poverty of street children, in drug fuelled Miami bars and alleys, amongst the detritus of a deserted Thai beach or in the complex world of musical genius – we are witnesses to love, betrayal, self-delusion, the nature of hope and loyalty.
These compelling and beautifully crafted stories show us that humanity has more that binds us together than separates us. That action and consequences all have a cost and that truth and lies are sometimes only divided by a heartbeat.
‘There is a cosmopolitan breadth to Andre Mangeot’s stories that gives them exceptional range and cultural richness. These layered narratives are fraught with the eruption of memory, the complications of the past, with encounters that grow taut through misunderstanding and darkly ensuing consequence. Few writers would dare to mix historical and fictional characters as he does in the title story and few could write from the viewpoint of other cultures with such sensitivity and interior authority. His subjects are beautifully observed and his style has technique equal to their variety and emotional scale.’ —Graham Mort
‘About A Little Javanese:
These stories are pacy, eventful, sometimes violent, their settings unusually varied and colourful but they nevertheless remain grounded in real human experience, so that we can believe in the characters and recognise their dilemmas. A disturbingly unpredictable world emerges, populated by isolated individuals who can only guess at one another's motives.’ —Chris Beckett
‘In plain, uncluttered prose, these stories illuminate pivotal moments in their characters’ lives. Their yearning for escape and flight speaks of a deep-rooted psychological unease which the protagonists’ themselves—although not the author—are unable, or unwilling, to explore.’ —Colette Paul
‘Intertwines the personal and the political with terrific skill … a fantastic collection: ambitious, moving and beautifully written.’ —Joe Dunthorne
‘With a meticulous sense of place, Andre Mangeot presents a series of characters caught between worlds, on the cusp of change, between life and death. His stories are gripping and atmospheric, full of impending doom and unexpected redemptions.’ —Sarah Bower