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About the book
  • Published: 2 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9781787331822
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99

We Are Attempting to Survive Our Time

A collection of raw, brilliant, unforgettable stories, from one of our great writers

A master-class in the short story, from the Costa Book Award winning author of Day

A. L. Kennedy’s new collection of stories show us women and men wrestling with the lives they have been given and the times spinning out around them. Humour, fantasy, rage and despair both help and hinder individuals as they navigate their changing circumstances, their accumulating losses, their moments of comprehension and tenderness. Hoping for a quiet day at the zoo, a woman finally snaps at a white man’s racist tirade and vents years of fury; an American micro-celebrity practises lines for a chat show on which he will never appear; a woman walks out of her honeymoon suite at midnight, perhaps for good; and, in the extraordinary ‘New Mexico’, the host of a podcast reveals why she is haunted by that particular US state.

Wry, caustic and unsparing in her close examination of human relationships and their failures, A. L. Kennedy sees harder than most writers – ‘Other humans are very unhappy, but try to seem glad,’ one character writes. ‘People do their best.’ In this collection of raw, brilliant, unforgettable stories, A. L. Kennedy shows – once again – why she is regarded as one of our great writers.

  • Pub date: 2 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9781787331822
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

A.L. Kennedy

A. L. Kennedy has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards – including the Costa Book of the Year for her novel Day. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Warwick University.

Also by A.L. Kennedy

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Praise for We Are Attempting to Survive Our Time

“Striking, expertly constructed… Kennedy’s exquisite blending of the limits of pain and courage recall Primo Levi.”

Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

“However small or seemingly unremarkable, each story invites the reader to enter a very particular struggle with characters who not only feel real, but whose aching vulnerability will resonate long after the moment has ended… Formidably insightful, A.L. Kennedy’s latest collection…is a shrewd examination of life’s defining moments.”

UK Press Syndication

“Connoisseurs of short stories that pack an emotional punch will find plenty to admire in this fine new collection.”

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

“[The] title and tone of [We Are Attempting to Survive Our Time] fit our current situation like a bespoke suit… Perfectly judged and moving.”

Rosemary Goring, Herald Scotland

“[A] dark, dangerously funny collection.”

Eithne Farry, Daily Mail

“A masterclass in the possibilities of the short story form; comical, plangent, some fixed on the single moment, others like concentrated novels.”

Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday

“AL Kennedy’s latest collection of wise, funny, human short stories came at just the right time. I dipped in and out of them over the course of a couple of days and emerged feeling better about the world than I had in a while.”

Alex Preston, Observer

“Kennedy is a superb writer and the canniness of her observation keeps you reading”

Phil Baker, Sunday Times

“From the brilliant AL Kennedy...a collection of unforgettable short stories about ordinary people wrestling with the lives they have been given as the world spins around them.”

Katy Thompsett, Refinery29

“Every story is a smasher…thrums with contemporary resonance… If you’re looking to survive your time, you could do a lot worse than cling to these stories.”


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