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Posthumous Stories [Paperback]

David Rose
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Oct 2013
David Rose’s debut novel Vault won high praise upon its publication in 2011. Now, Salt is pleased to present Rose’s long-awaited collection of short stories – a series of captivating tales that showcase his exceptional talent as a writer.

Rose has always been best-known as a master of the short story, and his work has featured in several magazines and anthologies. Posthumous Stories, written over the past twenty-five years, turns a sharply-focussed lens on an extraordinary range of lives: from a road crew installing speed humps, a divorced man living rough, and a childless children's entertainer, to the son of a famous artist, the dedicatee of a violin concerto, and an honorary member of the Beatles. Also included here are ‘Private View’, the author’s first published story in Literary Review and ‘Tragos’, a mesmerising tale based on the Raoul Moat case.

The wonder of this collection lies in its elegance; Rose’s prose, described by the Guardian as “sinewy and spare” is astounding; perfectly crafted. His stories unfurl with an uncanny ability to fix themselves in the memory – crisp, succinct and finely wrought. These are vignettes of remarkable potency; subtle, tantalising and unexpected, which will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Salt Publishing (15 Oct 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907773576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907773570
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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English author David Rose has an underground reputation for sly invention and the stories here wrong-foot you from the title onwards – Rose is alive and well in his sixties. He calls his foreword Afterword and subtitles one story A Novel. There’s a tale assembled from lines out of Kafka and another that takes the form of a Borges-like commentary on a fictitious novel, with excerpts. The prevailing mood is semi-Dystopian, with the standout piece describing an eco-activist who graduates from prankish PR stunts to more lethal action.

Edgy, erudite, full of multilingual puns and allusions to art and classical music, this is the work of a writer following his own instincts rather than those of a marketing team. You can see why he’s loved but also why he’s not better known. (Anthony Cummins Metro)

David Rose is one of the more hidden treasures of the British short story. Posthumous Stories – a title as misdirectional as the contents themselves – collects 25 years of his work, euphorically paranoid, slyly narrated, often hilarious, always quietly undermining both the narrating voice and any comfortably receptive position the reader might take up. (M. John Harrison The Guardian)


In recent years every magazine worth its salt has featured a David Rose short story. Although bewilderingly various and multiphonic, they were always unmistakably him. (Bill Broady, author of Swimmer)

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4.0 out of 5 stars restores your faith in the short story 25 Jan 2014
By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of stories, in the main, written for literary magazines over the past 25 years. After a slightly shaky start, the collection finds its feet with an array of stories teasing at the form and structure of the short story. The writing is assured, at times a breathless 'Man who was Thursday" at times a Moorcock style disintegration, perhaps David Rose is a prolific writer of pulp fiction moonlighting as a literary experimenter. Many of the stories feature an erudite, but passive hero, caught up in mystery or meaninglessness.

For me, every story ended with a sense of 'what was all that about', the best I could manage by way of interpretation was that Flora might be about the Persephone myth, with the lozenge shaped impression being a pomegranate seed, but who knows. I imagine a book group might profitably discuss each story, Rose started writing in Creative Writing classes, and the stories seem to invite further discussion. These are stories like modernist poems, where it will probably take a few readings to fully understand.

Although I enjoyed the collection, and will read more by the author, I am marking down to four because
There is not a fully functional contents page for Kindle, which seems inexcusable these days, and I struggle to think of a single person I know, who I might safely recommend this book to.

According to a terse personal website Rose has stopped writing, which is a shame. His writing has given a lot of people a lot of pleasure over the years, and this collection is a fine tribute to his excellent writing, dry wit, and deep thought. This is writing that restores your faith in the importance of short stories.

QUOTE - "Etymology is an odd business. Like lifting a paving stone to reveal a dead frog."
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By Ashley
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not alone in having looked forward to this collection ever since its jacket image first reared its headless cagoule online last year. David Rose is an unsung hero of contemporary short fiction, so the publication of Posthumous Stories gives us the opportunity to have a singsong.

Rose's stories always malinger in the imagination, raising more questions than they answer, an effect I first encountered after I'd read Clean from 1998's Neon Lit collection. Who is this character working for? Who is speaking at the end? Who says, `What sort of stupid tosser would kill himself over a dog?' One reason why Posthumous Stories is an event is because until now Rose's twenty-five years' worth of published fiction was dispersed across a plethora of small press publications, many of them defunct or difficult to track down (the acknowledgements page in Posthumous Stories - with its Zemblas and Black Biles, its Iron and Rue Bellas - reads like an atlas of the small-press/short-story archipelago).

I've lost my copy of Neon Lit Vol. II, so finding Clean again here was - another - thrill. Again: the grip of the storytelling. I don't remember (m)any of the stories I read in 1998, let alone where I was when I read them (the house with the mannequin, a street off the Unthank Road, early morning: a workman was using a whirring-blade machine to grind down part of the kerb. The horrible noise shuddered me awake. It was only when it started to rain torrentially that he packed it in, allowing me to read for a while, read Clean). I remembered the story, but not the author's name, not even when I came across David Rose again by way of his metafictional wonder Vault: An Anti-Novel.
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