From one of the most accomplished British writers working today, the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Wolf Border, comes a unique and arresting collection of short fiction that is both disturbing and dazzling.
Sarah Hall has been hailed as "one of the most significant and exciting of Britain’s young novelists" (The Guardian), a writer whose "intelligence and ambition are thrilling to behold" (BookForum). Her work has been acclaimed as "amazing . . . terrific and original" (Washington Post). In this collection of nine works of short fiction, she uses her piercing insight to plumb the depth of the female experience and the human soul.
A husband’s wife transforms into a vulpine in "Mrs. Fox," winner of the BBC Short Story Prize. In "Case Study 2, " A social worker struggles with a foster child raised in a commune. A new mother runs into an old lover in "Luxury Hour." In incandescent prose, full of rich observations and striking clarity, Hall has composed nine wholly original pieces—works of fiction that will resonate long after the final page is turned.
Hall's second collection of short stories is a disquieting demonstration of the power of the form, in which "you may never get to the bottom of something. You might end up staring over a precipice," as do a couple and their friend in "Wilderness" when they attempt to cross a dangerous bridge over an abyss that is as symbolically charged as it is real. Two other stories, "Later His Ghost" and "One in Four," take place in the kind of altered or threatened landscapes for which Hall is celebrated the first in a dystopian future in which freezing temperatures and relentless winds have destroyed civilized life, the other in an era of a superbug that is devastating the population. In "Mrs. Fox," a man chronicles his wife's transformation into a fox. A woman's chance encounter with a former lover in "Luxury Hour" demonstrates the writer's penchant for unremitting melancholy, and "Evie," an exploration of a woman's escalating sexual desire, goes to the grim heart of human nature. These unnerving stories hover over unspoken truths; in "Goodnight Nobody," the message is so deeply shrouded as to be indecipherable. Hall, whose fiction is known for its sense of place (specifically the countryside of her native Cumbria), has set herself a challenge, searching for meaning in other avenues. The results are challenging and thought-provoking.