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This is Paul Magrs’ first collection of short stories for twelve years. I’ve always written them, alongside my novels. These twelve pieces all began with a moment of observation – a face, an overheard exchange of a few words, an interesting dynamic between two people glimpsed in a café. The stories all began in one of the notebooks the author take everywhere and gradually – very slowly, in some cases – worked themselves up into full-length stories.
Some of these are macabre fables, from when Paul Magrs was toying with Gothic motifs. Some are pure dirty realism, introducing us to the messy circumstances of someone’s life. Some of these stories give us a tiny sliver of ‘real time’, but there’s always that sense of a huge backstory alluded to.
These are the stories that Margs has blazed away at and tinkered with and put away carefully, after their first publication, as they bided their time for collecting up. Some of these characters are the author’s favourites: the Roman priest who takes his ex-lady friend on a trip round the Vatican supermarket; the squirrel gang of Levenshulme, lamenting the death of their most charismatic member; the boy who goes to visit a strangely-ailing talking dog on a market stall.
As with all of his writing, Margs is zig-zagging across different genres and conventions and forms – taking what he needs and what appeals to him, in order to bring to life these particular characters and their predicaments.
(These stories have appeared in The Sunday Express Magazine, Bound, North, In the Red, Metropolitan, Walking in Eternity and on BBC Radio 4.
‘On Never the Bride: An original talent with a wonderful and sympathetic ear and eye for the hidden craziness of contemporary life. This book deserves to be widely read, enjoyed and garlanded with praise’ —Shena Mackay
‘I love Paul Magrs, he’s a great novelist, clever and ironic.’ —Russell T. Davies, SFX Magazine, 2007
‘On Does it Show?: Magrs’s characters have the courage to make themselves believe there is still magic in the world.’ —The Times, 1997