Review

The Birmingham Post (England), April 18, 2013 | Go to article overview

Review


NEW FICTION Flying by Peter Stamm. Publisher: Granta Books. Price: PS14.99 (ebook PS9.25) AFTER crafting this skilful and refined collection of short stories, Peter Stamm''s name deserves to be up there with great masters of the genre.

His magic lies in elevating the interior lives of his characters, everyday people going about their everyday business, into narratives about the very nature of life itself.

There is a moment of transformation in each of these sparkling gems of seemingly mundane stories -a man waiting for results of medical tests, a nursery worker deciding to take home a child whose parents are late in collecting him, a young couple moving in together, a tale of unrequited love.

When that happens, there really is a moment of take-off, as referenced by the title of the Swiss writer''s stories, translated here by Michael Hofmann. His language cannot be faulted and his characters, for all their apparent root in mind. This and collection deserves to be widely read.

Rating: **** This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith. Publisher: Headline. Price: hardback (ebook PS5.49) IMAGINE you received an email by accident. Would you delete it or reply? Imagine email was from a teenage film star as famous as Robert What would you do if your email correspondent arrived in small town where you lived to shoot a movie? This is what happens to O''Neill, who lives in peaceful town of Henley on the Maine coast.

Graham persuades his film''s production company to relocate for his new blockbuster.

After a false start at introducing himself to Ellie, Graham finally makes acquaintance of the 17-year-old he''s been sharing his innermost thoughts looks to be going swimmingly until an unexpected complication raises its Whatever your age, book from Jennifer E Smith is a perfect read for the beach. Rating: **** The Kitchen by Saira Shah. Publisher: Harvill Seeker. Price: PS12.99 hardback (ebook AWARD-WINNING film-maker and former Channel 4 News reporter Saira Shah has turned her hand to fiction her debut novel The Mouseproof Kitchen.

Chef Anna and her composer husband Tobias are stunned when first child, Freya, is born severe mental disabilities.

Immediately they are overwhelmed at prospect of a lifetime of caring, but also come to realise what being parents to Freya will mean for dieir own dream of moving to rural France.

However, take radical decision to buy a crumbling mansion in Languedoc, complete a rodent-infested kitchen.

This brave novel confronts seemingly endless highs and lows of caring for a disabled child, and is at times unsetding yet also deeply moving.

Shah, whose own daughter has cerebral palsy, says novel is not autobiographical but her love for her own child is palpable in her heartrending depiction of Freya. …

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