Friday, 21 December 2012
NATIONAL SHORT STORY DAY - my book of the year
It's National Short Story Day in the UK and I'm sure they won't mind if we join in here in Ireland. In honour of the day, I want to nominate Sarah Hall's The Beautiful Indifference as my short story collection of the year. I am aware that it came out last year but I didn't get to read it until this year. It's one of those books that I greedily downloaded onto my Kindle (in an 'I want it NOW!' moment) and afterwards regretted not having a hard copy. But I can remedy that.
The collection has just seven stories - each one completely different but each one suspenseful and told in that rich, language-loving English that I so enjoy.
I met Sarah at the Cork Short Story Festival and she is bubbly and warm and intelligent - just what you would imagine from the quality of her writing. Not that you should think the book is bubbly - it most certainly isn't. It's dark and menacing, and she writes sex and crumbling relationships very well. Justine Jordan said of the book, in the Guardian: 'Monstrous events happen offstage over the course of these seven stories: beatings, maulings, suicide and abandonment. But their force is felt all the more powerfully through the measured precision of Hall's prose, which is always grounded in the exact immediacy of everyday detail.'
Sarah also reads from her own work beautifully and she talks about it well. Check out this podcast on Thresholds here.
In Cork Sarah said writers should always write in their own way rather than 'sausaging themselves into something that they are not.' She continued, 'I'd rather see Chewbaca on a motorcycle painted on a plate than something ordinary. I would rather write something bonkers than ordinary.'
Long may the bonkers, sinister and edgy inspire her work. I can't wait for the next book.