Monday, 4 April 2011

'You don't have to Say', Alan Beard

You Don't Have to SayYou don't have to Say, Alan Beard
In this collection Beard takes the mundane and makes it significant; his observational skills are excellent, his descriptions of Sue and two women in a bar in 'The Party' are fresh and sharp. Beard's stories are frequently dark, but they are also compassionate and tender. 'Hot Little Danny' the opening story of this collection sees teenage thug Danny embark on an affair with his middle-aged teacher Mel ('short for Melanie'), in an unlikely, but entirely believable scenario as Beard writes it.
My favourite story was 'Staff Development', a brutal, yet incredibly tender account in which a shed containing a handcrafted doll's house is the only place of safety for Jack, a character who is finding the real world increasingly incomprehensible.
Several of Beard's stories can be read online: 'Background Noise' can be read at East of the Web and 'Huddersfield versus Crewe' can be read at Laura Hird's showcase. 'Hot Little Danny' is linked above.
Read a review of 'You don't have to Say' here.
Read an interview with Beard here.

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