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Sunstroke and Other Stories Kindle Edition
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She has such great psychological insights into human beings, which is rare. She is one of the best fiction writers writing today -- Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
Truly absorbing... a masterful yet understated read... More please, Sunday Express
Brilliant... Hadley's style is as discreet as good tailoring, Independent
The stories sparkle...Hadley is fascinating for the way she admits a fantasy or a missed chance can be more significant than the actual events that shape a life, Metro --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- File Size : 517 KB
- Publisher : Vintage Digital (22 Jan. 2015)
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 200 pages
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- ASIN : B00S1HTRTY
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 290,689 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
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Tessa Hadley is a very good writer; her descriptive prose is excellent and she is able to conjure up her characters and their situations deftly and concisely, and this conciseness enables her readers to engage with them almost immediately - which is important when writing short fiction. I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection - some a little more than others, but most are worth more than one reading, and on further readings, you may discover something different or something you missed first time round. And when you have finished this entertaining book of short stories, there is another one: Married Love by the same author waiting for you.
This sort of writing should never have made it out of the 1970s.
Tessa Hadley excels, as the Glasgow Herald quote on the back cover says: "in glimpses: those small burning memories ... which haunt as well as remind...".
But that's about it - a couple of good paragraphs of insight per story and the rest is pretty awful and myopic.
Virtually all her characters (really!) are graduate women who have studied Arts, usually English Literature, at university. Two, in separate stories, teach it at degree level. Most are post-feminists struggling to reconcile their past with a slow-dawning realisation that men are not all worthless, and that they still fancy them sometimes. Hadley herself is obviously still struggling: for example she attributes bizarre and inconsistent passions for guns to two of her male characters apparently purely to make the point that men are simple and doltish - unlike complex, peaceful women.
Some of her characters actually do read The Guardian but one cannot imagine any of them ever reading anything else. Two, in two different stories work for Labour MPs. In short Hadley has but one character: a post-feminist, socialist English Lit graduate, which she spins out by featuring them before, during and after university - an experience with which Hadley is clearly obsessed. She appears to takes the advice to writers about concentrating on what you know to risible extremes. A few characters even attend writing courses.
But even if one accepts this awfully narrow slice of society as adequate raw material, the characters themselves are inadequate and unattractive to the point where you simply do not care what happens to them. The men, of course, are laughably repulsive, like Vince in the title story Sunstroke. He is meant to be attractive to women but we are told he is "... lean with wedge-narrow face of a well-bred collie." Well-bred!
and Patrick, the object of desire in The Surrogate, who was "...tall with rather bowed shoulders; he was hollowly thin except for a small beer belly nestled in the stretched cloth of his T-shirt above his belt." Nestled!
"Really very sexy" is The Guardian quote used on the front cover. Really? Even the hilarious description of Thomas in Mother`s Son? "...how handsome she found him... he was odd-looking, with a crooked nose and a big loose mouth... his skin flared sensitively where the raw planes of his face were overgrowing...."
If this is what Hadley and her mates at The Guardian find sexy then god help them. It sounds to me like Thomas needs to see a doctor.
And then, even if one ignores these ridiculous descriptions, there's Hadley's careless repetition of style and imagery: too many things are `washed' or `rainwashed`, all the men have black curly hair, the women are all complex and sensitive and so it goes drearily on... .