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Publication Date
Publication Status
Short stories
Trim Size
203 x 127mm

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Balancing on the Edge of the World


These are stories about power: children without it and adults vying to get or keep it. A small boy struggles with his parents’ divorce, a doctor fails to understand the limits of his medical power, a wronged wife finds a uniquely powerful way to wreak revenge. Sometimes satirical, sometimes innovative and lyrical, the stories home in on those moments when power can spill into powerlessness: the split-second when a self-satisfied teenager is held at knifepoint by muggers, the trip to the woods with the ‘poor kids’ which teaches a small girl she’s no better than them. They chart the opposite moments when people wrest back power: a daughter rebels against her violent father, a struggling writer decides to expose a con man arts worker, a little girl who wishes her lost father would come back finds she has magic powers.

But it’s a slippery thing, power, and these vivid, wry stories spring surprises: for nothing, in the end, is ever quite what it seems.

Praise for this Book

‘A terrific collection – luminous, witty and wise.’ —Livi Michael

Reviews of this Book

‘For ‘Star Things’:

Almost ethereal in its strangeness and has great energy at its heart.’ —Brendan O’Keefe

‘For ‘Star Things’:

Integral, readable and stylish.’ —City Limits

‘Elizabeth Baines has a wry humour and satirical edge.’ —Martin Nicholls

‘For Body Cuts:

Strikingly told.’ —Sunday Times

‘About The Birth Machine:

An increasingly powerful narrative ... its presentation of the world of childhood contrasts nicely with a sharp satire.’ —Laura Marcus

‘About The Birth Machine:

This powerful book leaves you with a sense of disquiet, anger and frustration [and] the realisation ... that what you have just read is an everyday story about an everyday event. As such it is very clever.’ —Jessica Corner

‘About The Birth Machine:

A gripping story, a pithy book.’ —Katie Campbell