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A bereaved mother borrows her next door neighbor’s baby. An outsider builds a gingerbread house at the edge of an English village. A woman is seduced into buying special-offer babies at the supermarket. A father is reminded of his son as he watches the rescue of a group of Chilean miners. A little boy attempts to engineer a happily ever after following the death of his sister.
With psychological insight and a lightness of touch frequently found in fairy tales, Bray delves under the surface of ordinary lives to explore loss, disappointment, frustrated expectations and regret. Described as ‘not just excellent, but significant,’ by poet and critic Robert Sheppard, these dark and lyrical stories illuminate extraordinary and everyday occurrences with humanity and humour.
‘Carys Bray lays to rest the myth that fiction which examines the domestic sphere is familiar and unchallenging. She explores parenthood, loss, childhood and belonging with razor-sharp prose, a killer eye for the stop-in-your-tracks detail and a real understanding of the hidden cruelties and unexpectedly sharp comforts of family life.’ —Jenn Ashworth
‘It’s a difficult thing, I think, to write about family life, which unlike wars and love affairs and murders and all the other staples of fiction, does not tend to come with a beginning, a middle and an end, but follows a daily cycle, on and on for years. But it’s a trick that Carys Bray pulls off in various ways.’ —Chris Beckett
‘Bray has an uncanny ability for capturing children on the page. Nothing is saccharine. Sentiment is negated beautifully by the everyday.’ —Sarah Schofield