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Tea at the Midland: and Other Stories Paperback – 23 Aug 2012
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'This is a superb collection of stories: Constantine's writing is rare today, unafraid to be rich and allusive and unashamedly moving.' --The Independent
'A. S. Byatt has described reading a previous collection of Constantine's short fiction as akin to experiencing ''a series of short shocks of (agreeably envious) pleasure''. Tea at the Midland shows the author to be on equally sparkling form again.' --The TLS
'Spellbinding.' --The Irish Times
About the Author
Born in Salford in 1944, David Constantine worked for thirty years as a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry, most recently, Nine Fathom Deep (2009). He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet. In 2003 his translation of Hans Magnus Enzensberger s Lighter than Air won the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation. His translation of Goethe s Faust, Part I was published by Penguin in 2005; Part II in April 2009. He is also author of one novel, Davies, and Fields of Fire: A Life of Sir William Hamilton. His three short story collections are Back at the Spike, the highly acclaimed Under the Dam (Comma, 2005), and The Shieling (Comma, 2009), which was shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O Connor International Short Story Award. Constantine s story Tea at the Midland won the BBC National Short Story Award 2010. He lives in Oxford, and used to edit Modern Poetry in Translation with his wife Helen.
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2 August 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this on the strength of some rave reviews, and having read the first short story I thought the book would be fantastic. However, most of the rest of the stories did not come up to the standard of the first. The descriptions of place were poetic and finely wrought, but with one or two notable exceptions the characters were difficult to warm to. Dare I say, at times Constantine appeared to be trying to be too clever by half, and the story suffered as a consequence. A book that was outstandingly good in patches.
26 August 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
An interesting set of stories written with humour and tenderness, many with themes of loss, dysfunction, relationship/s breakdown. It took me a few stories to get into the book, and some stories I enjoyed more than others; especially Mr. Carlton, Romantic, Goat, An Island (in spite of the ultimate hopelessness of the main character in that one). Fortunately there were some causes for optimism in some of the stories, to save the book from only depicting the sadder, hopeless aspects of the human condition.
1 April 2014
I love David Constantine's language - you can tell he is a translator as well - it is beautiful and moving. Short stories can be a tricky genre though and I did struggle with some of the stories, being none the wiser after the last full stop. It is a great book, if like me, you love a challenge.