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These stories trace the fragile and enduring connections between those related by blood, and those not. A gay couple care for a cantankerous neighbour, a daughter hangs on to the threads of her father’s mind, an anthropologist finds it difficult to leave behind the refugees she has studied. They take an unflinching look at the moments in lives when the axis swivels to reveal insights and actions which surprise and disturb. With crackling wit and a deadpan lyricism the fate of a nonagenarian former channel swimmer is sealed alongside a virginal teenager and a baroque beautician.
‘She is a gifted writer.’ —Patricia Routledge
‘A wry and moving collection. Chrissie Gittins has achieved that difficult thing – stories which stay in the mind, inviting us to register the world more acutely and relish its tiny details.’ —Moniza Alvi
‘Chrissie Gittins is a real writer with a bleak, accurate and often very funny take on the drab lives most of us lead. Above all she understands the brutal economy you need for a really successful short story.’ —Nigel Williams
‘I am SO enjoying the stories. Vivid and touching. I've almost finished it now – I read two or three last thing, then one in the morning. That morning read is a sign I'm loving the book.’ —Suzannah Dunn
‘I enjoyed Family Connection so much – I’ve re-read most of the stories. It’s the polished laconic storytelling – and the way this combines with your subject matter, which is often profoundly sad, even painful – but never flat, never gloomy, never depressing. You have a real voice and it comes out with the apparently effortlessness which is the mark of finished writing.’ —Helen Dunmore
‘There is irony in Gittins's title: the collection is mostly about disconnections. She writes about the banalities of daily life, but not for easy comedy. Observing the small things that are significant to people, she shows how her characters are essentially alone.’ —Nicholas Clee, The Guardian
‘This is a collection of 22 short stories covering a wide variety of themes. Each one is short enough for a busy person to read in one sitting. Some are sad, some are funny. They all draw in the reader so much that the outside world just disappears. Ten of the stories are set in South East London including Lewisham. This book is on the long list for the 2007 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize.’ —Una O'Malley , Lewisham Library Staff Recommended Reads
‘a true original ... she has a genuine gift.’ —Jane Yeh, Poetry Review
‘Chrissie Gittins has a McGough-like flair for idiomatic surrealism.’ —Michael Thorn, TES