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  • 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.

  • Published: 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 Essex.

Also by A.L. Kennedy

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Praise for We Are Attempting to Survive Our Time

AL Kennedy’s latest collection of wise, funny, human short stories came at just the right time. I...emerged feeling better about the world than I had in a while... Kennedy is brilliant at subtly shifting the ground of her stories, gently rotating your perspective so that by the end you’re facing in quite the other direction, not sure of how you got there… [There is] waspish intelligence at work here.

Alex Preston, Observer

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

Catherine Taylor, Financial Times

AL Kennedy’s seventh collection of stories is a quite astonishing…clear-eyed…masterclass in the possibilities of the short story form; comical, plangent… Words indeed for our times.

Stuart Kelly, Scotsman

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

Phil Baker, Sunday Times

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

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

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

[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

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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