the friend online
20 March 2009


Book club reviews - preview
A surprising ambush
Some New Ambush by Carys Davies
  • Salt Publishing
  • £8
  • 99

  • I rarely choose to read short stories, and the station bookstall before a long journey or the bedside reading in a holiday hotel usually confirm my prejudice
  • But these are different: short certainly, but succinct and (best of all) surprising – we are indeed ambushed

  • What world are we in? The stories move seamlessly between the familiar and the surreal, between reality and fantasy, sanity and madness: from the all-too-human dilemma and its surprising resolution in Hwang, to the altered sensibilities of a Celtic faery-land in Rose Red, and the shocking dénouement in Ugly Sister
  • Children are a recurring theme: child-longing, child-birth, child-rearing and childhood are touchingly evoked, as are the lonely, the eccentric and the sad
  • Settings vary from suburban America to the Lake District and Wales, and in chronology from the timeless to the present day
  • We are challenged too: do you know your Titus Andronicus, your Manilius, your ornithology, or that you really should not have dropped Latin in the lower fifth?

    Hazel Watson & Michael Thomas

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