Melanie Whipman's bold debut collection is remarkable for its range, emotional force and dark humour. In these beautifully crafted tales of escapism and rebellion the surreal flickers around the margins of the everyday. Ordinary events tip over into misfortune, violence and despair; Mrs Noah falls in love with a lion, a singing fish saves a marriage, and a teenager prepares to shoot his teacher. The collection offers a series of unsettling portraits of the lost, the young, the marginalised at their most vulnerable. All are forced to make sacrifices, or cross the boundaries of societal rules as they are lured by strange attractions. These sharply imagined tales merge the grotesque and the tragic with humour and poignancy, evoking life's diversity and unpredictability with style and control.
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