Tracing the fragile paths of people who desperately want to belong, Campbell catches her characters in the moment where they find themselves floundering. These are characters at the edge of their endurance, experiencing the moment when life threatens to tip out of their control. With a light comic flair, Campbell follows them through the twists and turns of their experiences. We see extraordinary events within mundane lives, and Campbell shatters your expectations in the award-winning stories that make up this collection. She beautifully captures the moment of implosion - a lame girl’s friends disappear on a bleak mountain, a schoolboy nurses a doll during a lesson, a babysitter is caught in her own web of lies, a mother watches her pram sink in the river, and a child discovers the truth about birth and death in the space of a day. Campbell makes you look at the world with a sharper eye, allowing you to see pictures in the flames, or faces in knots of wood. These stories are about people like us, carefully threading parts of their lives into a sequence, as though they were pearls on string. We meet them just as the thread is cut, scattering everything they know, and share their trials as they struggle to recover.

Joanna Campbell’s range and scope as a writer is breathtaking. These stories capture the breadth of her unique talent in a collection of unforgettable stories.
— Joe Melia, Bristol Short Story Prize

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