The Shieling

252The Shieling cover image

David Constantine

Synopsis

‘Perhaps the finest of contemporary writers in this form’
– The Reader

Many of the characters in David Constantine’s new collection seem driven to absent themselves, to abscond from the pressures of their lives into strange ideas, distant places, even private languages. There are involuntary absences too, in grief and speechless old age. Viewed from without, his characters may appear absurd – like the vicar who starts conversing with the Devil – or unreachably lonely – like the man drowned in the black waters of the Irwell. But such is the force of Constantine’s compassion, we cannot help but enter fully into each peculiar fate. And as we descend through the strata of these different lives, there, in the depths, are forces of hope and redemption also: like the spring starting deep in a quarry that in time will become a lake or the secret haven of the title story, a safehouse for dreams.

Reviews

'Every sentence is both unpredictable and exactly what it should be. Reading them is a series of short shocks of (agreeably envious) pleasure...'
– AS Byatt, Book of the Week, The Guardian

'Flawless but unsettling'
- Boyd Tonkin, Books of the Year 2005, The Independent

'Constantine is writing for his life. Every sentence and paragraph is shaped, tense with meaning and unobtrusively beautiful, his images of the natural world burning their way into the reader’s mind...'
- Maggie Gee, The Times

List Price £7.99
Price £6.75

Details
ISBN 9781905583218
Publisher Comma Press
Genre Short Fiction
Set in Greater Manchester
Extent 240pp

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