The finest short story collection yet from a contemporary master of the form
A new book of stories from Bernard MacLaverty is a cause for celebration, but Matters of Life and Death
is more than that, as it is – without question – the finest collection yet from a contemporary master of the form.
Beginning with the sudden, nauseating terror of a family caught up in an explosion of shocking sectarian violence and ending with the white-out of an Iowa blizzard and a different kind of fear, Matters of Life and Death
is a book about bonds and connections, made and broken, secret and known. Vivid, beautifully controlled and written with effortless skill and empathy, these stories are object lessons in the art of short fiction.
Bernard MacLaverty lives in Glasgow. He has written four collections of stories and four novels, including Grace Notes
which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. He has written versions of his fiction for other media - radio plays, television plays, screenplays - and wrote and directed the short film Bye Child
which recently won a BAFTA award
These are stories in the easiest and most pleasurable sense of the word. MacLaverty's work is in a line from Chekhov, via Frank O'Connor,His insights into the female mind are unique,This stupendous new book - crucial, shattering sentences - that express, modestly, monumentally the achievement of this extraordinary writer. He is in behind your eyes before you feel his thinking knife …Matters of Life and Death is a great book.
The explicit presiding literary presence is Chekhov. Not reached nor striven for, innate, rather,This most enticing of writers is also one of the most penetrating,A masterly control of pace and structure, pitch-perfect capturing of voice, characterisation that has spot on credibility, human pleasure in life's satisfactions shadowed by awareness of the ways in which they can be jeopardised,MacLaverty has never written more powerfully or with greater authorial grip,This is a fine collection of short stories, sometimes brutal and shocking, but written with a sort of underground tenderness,MacLaverty’s stories don’t lack drama, but their effect is subtle and stealthy: they creep up on you,A master at work...richly textured, filled with vividly humorous detail,Confirms MacLaverty’s status as an impressive heir of Chekhov and James Joyce