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Two short stories: an author must judge a short story competition; and a misanthropic recluse compiles an 'index of embarrassment' - a collection covering everything from song lyrics to the human body.

In 'Death by Art Deco', successful author Andrea Heysham regrets agreeing to judge the 'Untapped Talent Short Story Competition' the very minute that submissions start pouring through her letterbox. After tarnishing most of the manuscripts with red wine and cigarette ash, she finally chooses one, by 17-year old Lily, to be her winner - but her fellow judges disagree and she is out-voted. Outraged and humiliated, Andrea decides to approach the star-struck but vulnerable Lily with a proposition.

In 'The Index of Embarrassment', Freddy visits his Uncle Bob, a misanthropic recluse who has spent decades compiling an 'index of embarrassment' - a collection covering everything from song lyrics to the human body. When Bob's neighbour, Dennis, is found hanged in his apartment, Bob dismisses the tragedy and is more concerned with retrieving the stepladder he had lent to the deceased. Alarmed by this latest display of cold cynicism, Freddy resolves to endure all manner of embarrassment in the name of human kindness, lest he end up like his uncle.

Part of the Storycuts series, these two stories were previously published in the collection The Atmospheric Railway.

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  • EBook


    November 17, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    27 pages

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Also by Shena Mackay

A Bowl Of Cherries
An Advent Calendar
The Artist's Widow
Laughing Academy
The Orchard on Fire
Dreams of Dead Women's Handbags / Other People's Bathrobes (Storycuts)
The Most Beautiful Dress in the World / Cardboard City (Storycuts)
Pink Cigarettes / Babies in Rhinestones (Storycuts)
Swansong / Ennui / Bananas / Where the Carpet Ends (Storycuts)
Nay, Ivy, Nay / Wasps' Nest / Windfalls (Storycuts)
That Innocent Bird / The Heart of Saturday Night / Jumbo Takes a Bath / Shalimar (Storycuts)
Nanny / Radio Gannet / The Lower Loxley Effect (Storycuts)
The Thirty-first of October / Angelo (Storycuts)
Cloud Cuckoo-Land (Storycuts)
A Pair of Spoons (Storycuts)
All the Pubs in Soho (Storycuts)
Evening Surgery (Storycuts)
The Atmospheric Railway (Storycuts)
Crossing the Border / Trouser Ladies (Storycuts)
Till the Cows Come Home / The World's Smallest Unicorn (Storycuts)
The Curtain With the Knot In It / The Laughing Academy (Storycuts)
Barbarians (Storycuts)


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Best Laid Plans
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Fool Me Once
Private Delhi
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
Men Without Women
Paris For One And Other Stories
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
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The Mistress
The Bone Collection
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