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This passionate new book gathers together for the first time many of Vanessa Gebbie’s award-winning stories. Described by Maggie Gee as ‘a prodigiously gifted new writer’, this is a natural storyteller; her narratives unfold with a deceptively light touch, exploring with compassion what it is to be human and flawed. ‘Words From a Glass Bubble’ is about coming to terms with the cards we are dealt. The stories pivot around the recognition that those who seem powerless can prove to be the strongest catalysts for change, both in themselves and in others. Vanessa Gebbie never shies away from difficult subjects, creating an intensely emotional and at times distressing world, but it is never totally dark or despairing. Sparks of the unexpected and flashes of humour light the whole collection with an indefatigable optimism.
This is a writer with a boundless imagination, who breathes life into the most unlikely characters and events. Batty Annie fishes for her son’s soul in a disused railway tunnel. Tom’s grandmother flies on a circus trapeze. Spike relates to cacti better than people. Eva Duffy befriends a statuette of the Virgin Mary. Pepito pretends he is a priest and suffers the consequences. Shelly has a colonic irrigation to rid herself of the past. Billy hears stones when he shakes his head. Dodie from The General Stores falls for a man who teaches her ‘to think’, and Mikey mourns his wife through graffiti.
From Ireland to Czechoslovakia to Wales to Alaska to Ibiza, from contemporary New York to a clinic in the future, this collection will take you on a journey. And Harry? He just goes fishing.
‘A strikingly fresh voice, sharp, shocking and original.’ —Peter James
‘Vanessa Gebbie explores with extraordinary lyricism and beauty the human lives that connect, interweave and turn around often tragic incidents. These narratives unfold before us with the deftness and assurance of the truly gifted writer. A remarkable book.’ —Jacob Ross FRSL
‘Original, compassionate and illuminated by humour, these stories by a prodigiously gifted new writer dare to mine the faultline between rage and love.’ —Maggie Gee
‘Dodie’s Gift is a beautiful piece ... a real achievement.’ —Zadie Smith
‘Vanessa Gebbie ... has a feel for language’s natural cadences’ —James Topham, Roundtable Review
‘Vanessa has heart, the soul of a writer.’ —Alex Keegan
‘A rare talent.’ —Waterstone’s Booksellers
‘Riveting… a blithe and energetic narrative drive.’ —Mslexia
‘A beautifully crafted collection.’ —Pulp.net
‘Exactly what a short story collection should be: vivid, varied, moving, lyrical, disturbing, entertaining, thought provoking, original. A wonderful read.’ —The Short Review