Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Beautiful Indifference ~ Sarah Hall

Hall's short stories have been described as 'satisfying and intriguingly open-ended, haunting the imagination long after the last page is turned.' The opening story in this collection, 'Butcher's Perfume,' is beautifully written in a curious mix of slang and dialect: Manda is fierce, but she isn't 'pelvic, or thick with glands and brawn' and her father is 'gristle right through to the bone,' while the passages to the city are a 'burnt-farm, red-river, raping territory. A landscape of torn skirts and hacked throats... and haylofts used to kipper children.' The story ends with an act of retributory violence which the narrator, Kathleen finds unsettling: 'I searched her face for some sign of disturbance and saw nothing favourable. Her eyes were that glisky blue, all bad charm and cheek.' In 'The Bees' the narrator muses about the past as she observes the mysterious deaths of bees in a London garden, while the Scandinavian landscape is remote and striking in 'Vuotjarvi'. The stories in this collection are accomplished and assured, and the language is always startling. As Clare Wigfall writes, 'These stories are dark, raw and heartbreaking. An immensely satisfying collection.'

Read a review here and here.
Find Sarah Hall's website here.

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