Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Married Love ~ Tessa Hadley

In this elegantly written collection Tessa Hadley presents twelve stories about family relationships. In the title story nineteen year old Lottie marries university lecturer Edgar Lennox. Hadley deftly sketches the reactions of each family member with Noah, Lottie's brother, offering perhaps the most concise, yet alarming observation: 'He knew how passionately she succumbed to the roles she dreamed up for herself. She won't be able to get out of this one, he thought. She can't stop now.' And indeed, Lottie doesn't stop. She produces three daughters in quick succession, confessesing in the final scene of the story, 'I'm grey... My life's so grey.' Hadley's short stories read like miniature novels; her characters are vividly drawn, their experiences compelling, their humanity familiar. My favourite story is 'Friendly Fire' in which Pam and Shelley do a 'scrub-off' clean at an industrial warehouse. Pam is a woman who always drives with the interior light on, she treats her car 'just like another room in the house' and she is 'fat like a limp saggy cushion.' Shelley's son is in Afghanistan and she finds that she is 'always waiting for some dreadful kind of message.' Hadley explores friendship and family in this tender and funny story.

Read reviews here and here.
Read an interview with Tessa Hadley here.

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