With both economy and compassion, Neil Campbell creates lyrical visions of loss and confinement. Children, teenagers, parents, single men and women all feature in the unflinching depictions of ordinary people coping with the difficulties of everyday life. In stories filled with both poetry and humour, he reveals how moments from both the past and the present can affect our lives forever. From Manchester to Magaluf, Campbell shows lives defined by work and circumstances. The lives of factory workers, labourers, drinkers, musicians, hikers, artists and sportsmen are all revealed in pared-down stories of tact and precision that have a haunting authenticity. In choosing to explore enduring aspects of the human condition he transcends the zeitgeist to leave us with stories that resonate with truth. His crafted stories reveal a sensitivity to the nuances of human behaviour, and suggest a bright future.
‘This writing is economical and scathing, at times almost lyrical. It is very sure writing. It knows inside out the world it describes. The dialogue is note perfect and has a studied, savage banality. The prose revels in the outrageousness of the things that people say, and is true to its characters throughout. There’s a saddening bravado in these voices.’ —Paul Magrs
‘Neil Campbell's first book is an astonishingly assured debut. His resonant stories are richly loaded with the sounds and rhythms of life as we experience it from day to day. His characters, like those of Chekhov or Raymond Carver, reveal themselves to us through the gradual accretion of plausible action, thought and feeling. Everyone who takes contemporary fiction seriously will want to read and re-read this book.’ —Andrew Biswell
‘Of the many people working to keep the short story alive, Neil Campbell is doing so simply by writing excellent stories. His fiction makes us see things anew, like a page refresh of the world around us.’ —Nicholas Royle
‘The collection works in a strange, cumulative fashion to draw the reader into Neil Campbell’s chosen world . . . read it because it is an excellent first collection.’ —Zoe King