Is This The Way You Said?
The new short story collection from the highly acclaimed author of Ulverton and The Rules of Perspective
Living in the shadow of Battersea power station, Anita Mostyn decides to take a holiday from her life. As a child she is dismissed by her parents in favour of her boisterous brothers, and as an adult, her choices disapproved of – the small art gallery she works for, the friends she makes, the men she sees. Mossy – the childhood nickname that stuck – is never the 'fixed point', there are girlfriends and wives for that; instead she lives on the edges of things. On a whim she decides to take up an offer to scout for holiday properties in Bulgaria, escaping the impending second wedding of her perfect brother – and a horrifying episode in her past.
With deft insight and extraordinary tenderness, Janet Davey charts the complications of family relationships, the push and pull of allegiances, as Anita navigates testing waters and little by little we begin to understand her past, and see her emerge anew.
Poignant, and absurd, sharp and wry, Janet Davey's luminous writing has reached its zenith in this depiction of a woman in free fall.
Praise for Is This The Way You Said?
It begins and ends with an absolute cracker...the two main stories, framing the rest of the contents like fine mahogany book-ends, are good enough to justify the cover prizeJulia Flynn, Sunday Telegraph
Thorpe's precise prose never wastes a word; he inhabits a variety of complex characters effortlessly and is extremely funny and moving by turns. A real treatJohn Harding, Daily Mail
He demonstrates flashing prowess as a maker of crafted storiesTom Adair, Scotland on Sunday
There is grace and strength to Adam Thorpe's writing that reminds me of Tai Chi.... Beautifully observed tales...Jennie Renton, Sunday Herald
What raises both story and collection to the highest level is the combination of Thorpe's extraordinarily keen ear, sharp humour and a remarkable, direct prose that is not only suited to the way his people think, but also provides the perfect foil to those moments of tentative poetry that spark and burn from time to time in even the dullest of English livesJohn Burnside, Guardian
Adam Thorpe's new collection of short stories, is assured. It's also insightful and shrewd about the minutiae of people's everyday inner livesJerome de Groot, Time Out
Full of humour and warmth, this is an impressive, at times brilliant, workAlexander Larman, New Statesman
In Is This The Way You Said? we see the perfection of deprecation, spurred by wit, watered by pity, fed by observation. It's marvellousMurrough O’Brien, Independent