All the Rage Hardcover – 6 Mar 2014
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"One of the most consistently dazzling writers of her generation... Kennedy's stories are a little like love: no matter how many times they break your heart, you still come back for more. This collection proves, once again, that it is always worth it." (Katy Guest Independent on Sunday)
"Kennedy is brilliantly, painfully funny about the fault-lines and disaster zones of the typical relationship" (The Times)
"This book celebrates love like a hungry dog celebrates the corpse of a rabbit... Kennedy is, if you like, the Anti-Cartland... Magnificently bleak." (Jojo Moyes Independent)
"It is Kennedy’s portrayal of the difficulty, if not seeming impossibility, of connecting with other people that makes these stories so moving… Kennedy’s disjointed, angular style and weird, displaced atmospherics really work" (Lionel Shriver Financial Times)
"A.L. Kennedy's masterful new collection... Stories appear to roam chaotically, like the mind, but of course they are neat, perfect messes." (Vicky Allan Herald)
A dozen stories: a dozen ways of looking at love, or the lack of love. Over five previous collections, A. L. Kennedy has shown herself to be a master of the short form, with a perfect way with sentences and a voice so distinct as to be instantly recognisable. Shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story AwardSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The writing style is staccato like and too often obtuse and dense. There is a stream of consciousness that permeates most of the stories with internal dialogues that at times feel like their pushing the reader away with their repetitive, minimalistic style of narrative.
“And meanwhile you, there’s you and you were, you really, you absolutely – I absolutely – in all of the ways I would like to – in all the ways I would like
Phone would be better.”
From, 'A Thing unheard of'.
But this repetitive, minimalistic style though at times distancing is honest. People’s external and internal dialogues are full of repetitious phrases and words that are used to make a point, or to make sure a word or phrase was heard by those listening. We look to validate a point and/or our place in our discussion group by repeating words and phrases. We repeat words or phrases in our internal dialogue so that when we have to repeat them out loud they will hopefully make sense.
There are moments of laugh out loud humour. The story, 'Baby Blue', finds the protagonist in a sex shop surrounded by disembodied vaginas and penises.
“Chocolate-flavoured condoms. They had chocolate-flavoured condoms.
You like penises, you like chocolate, why not both?
There are many whys for not both...
If I like penises, might I not be assumed to hope the flavour of a penis will be penis, which is to say not too much of a flavour, ideally just this subtle, unflavoured pleasantness and that isn’t a problem, how could that be a problem?”
The author creates some joyous imagery that remains in the mind well after having moved onto the next story. Here Ms Kennedy is describing falling snow,
“This is the style of fall that doesn’t seem it’ll be a problem, but it’s deceptive. The stuff doesn’t stop and tenderly eats up your street, your views, and settles, and being out in it will make you end up cold – cold in the lungs – and still it keeps on and overwhelms and then the fun’s gone.”
These joyous moments of literature’s equivalent of a gravitational singularity are welcome in what at times feels like a dense quagmire of a narrative. The joyous moments feel like tree branches thrown to us readers to keep our head above the gelatinous mire, but all too often these branches were retracted and this reader began once more to sink into a literary quagmire.
I love short stories, I almost prefer them to the multi-page novels. But A.L. Kennedy's creations left me untouched.
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