This collection of five long-short stories, published by Heinemann, represents the first of a planned series of three book-length collections of Tom Stacey’s ‘long-shorts’, a form in which Stacey excels. These five stories draw from a formidable range of subject matter: a north Welsh sheep farmer as victim of a mysteriously blighted world; a miscast businessman transfixed by a femme fatale; a young Cotwolds landowner lured to the unexplored rainforest; a holidaying Member of Parliament avenging an ancient wounding; a diplomat’s career hanging upon the fate of a Scottish navvy. In each life’s hidden depths well up to devastate the ordered surface of existence.
‘Tom Stacey’s men are the kind that used to be called “real men” – the sort who don’t eat quiche … People like these are so seldom met in fiction that they have to be fully explained, something that Stacey does patiently and skilfully … insisting that they deserve a hearing.’
Penny Perrick – The Sunday Times
‘In Stacey’s world the trivial omission involves the later disaster. The crack in the teacup is the hole in the heart.’
Andrew Sinclair – The Times