A collection of short stories by one of Britain's most successful authors. This very talented writer gives a selection of tales that cover a whole range of topics but all have Smith's powerful and creative use of language and ideas.
There are nineteen stories that vary in theme, from dystopia to classic classroom teacher-style to social class, racism and general bigotry. There is humour and wisdom throughout. Particular favourites are The Lazy River, which tells of the typical British tourist staying at an all-inclusive Spanish holiday resort. The Dialectic is about a single mother of four on holiday in Sopot, who says that she would like to be on good terms with animals while eating a chicken wing. Miss Adele Among the Corsets concerns a retiring drag queen and looks at different aspects of prejudice. The best story is Sentimental Education where a woman reflects on her time at university as one of two people of colour. Some of the ideas here really made me think!
The book has no general theme to tie the stories together other than excellent writing, but is observational and thought-provoking. Not as good as Smith's novels but the fertile imagination is alive and well.
Published by Penguin Books on 3 October 2019.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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