Storm Warning is the latest collection from award-winning writer Vanessa Gebbie, described as ‘prodigiously gifted’ by novelist Maggie Gee. It explores the echoes of human conflict in a series of powerful stories inspired by life with the author’s own father, who fought and was decorated in WWII, but suffered the after-effects for the rest of his life.
Conflict is often explored from the child’s perspective and ranges from conventional warfare to historical religious persecution. War veterans are haunted by events that echo louder and louder, and eventually break them. A prisoner sees the violent execution of a friend and mentor, a boy hides from a necklacing, a young student escapes the fighting in Iraq in the hope of continuing his education in the West and a woman tells what she knows of her parents’ torture.
The people in these stories are not those who go down in history, but ordinary troops, the powerless, caught up involuntarily. All are tested, sometimes to breaking point, in this extraordinary collection as Gebbie explores the surreality of conflict and the after-effects of atrocity.
‘In these terse and complex fictions, Vanessa Gebbie gives us an entire worldview in only a few pages. Her carefully etched story-moments and sharp-edged prose style are only the least of her considerable storytelling gifts.’ —Rusty Barnes, Editor and Co-Founder, Night Train
‘Vanessa Gebbie is a massively gifted writer. Her harrowing honesty pulls no punches.’ —Peter James, author of best-selling Roy Grace novels
‘Both haunted and haunting, Vanessa Gebbie's protagonists in these unsettling stories move through the present but remain always tethered to the past. No war stories these, but explorations of what it means to ‘survive’ the conflicts and horrors created by humans across centuries and continents. Like Pat Barker, Gebbie gives voice to those who cannot forget, even decades later, who was taken and what was lost in the blood and mud. n, the weaving together of outer experience and inner turbulence, and the small sparks of hope even in the darkest corners.’ —Tania Hershman