Sarah Hall – The Savidge Reads Advent Calendar Day 14

One of the books I had hoped to have finished, until all started to go wrong with my laptop was, and pop my thoughts on in conjuncture with this post was ‘The Beautiful Indifference’ by Sarah Hall which is a collection of short stories I have been dipping in and out of. They have been the perfect bit sized reads whilst there has been computer chaos around me as while something tales a few hours to download I have immersed myself in the tales.

I read Sarah’s novel ‘How To Paint A Dead Man’ when it was listed for the Man Booker, but any review I write didn’t do it justice so it never appeared on here sadly, I think she is an incredible writer (and lovely in the flesh as I met her a few weeks ago) and so far this collection is only boosting my opinion of her further. I have been meaning to pick up one of her other novels for ages, and then this arrived and so I decide to give it a whirl instead. My small review of it would be ‘gritty but beautiful’ at the moment.

I am only half way through (I promise to report back on it when I have finished) but I can tell you know, unless something goes horribly wrong which I doubt, this is quite a masterful collection of short stories. I therefore thought you might like a copy and so it’s become today’s give away for two of you. All you need to do is tell me your favourite short story, or short story collection you have read in 2011 and why? You have until 11am December the 16th. Good luck.


Filed under Book Thoughts, Give Away, Random Savidgeness

6 responses to “Sarah Hall – The Savidge Reads Advent Calendar Day 14

  1. The new Nemirovsky release from Persephone ‘Dimanceh and Other Stories’ was excellent. So excited about Sarah Hall’s collection (Carhullan Army, swoons).

  2. Ann P

    I enjoyed another earlier Persephone – Good Evening Mrs Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes. Wartime nostalgia yet full of still relevant insights into feelings and behaviour.

  3. Janet D

    I enjoyed The Penguin Book of French Short Stories Edward Marielle. Idid not think I would enjoy them but I did; very much.

  4. Marte

    My favourite short story collections:
    Sarah Salway – Leading the dance
    Barbara Gowdy – We so seldom look on love

  5. Liz

    I don’t know whether 44 Scotland Road by Alexander McCall Smith qualifies. It was done for serialization in a newspaper, in the Dickens’ tradition.

  6. David Dean

    I’m looking forward to your review of this, Simon. I’ve been dipping into it for the past couple of weeks and finished the final story this morning. On the whole I thought it was excellent – only two stories slightly disappointed (‘Bees’ felt slight, and ‘The Agency’ didn’t seem to fit thematically with the others), and three or four of the stories were absolutely stunning. ‘The Nightlong River’ in particular recalled Hall’s first two novels though combined with the muscular, more stripped back prose of her recent work – beautiful. I’m been a fan of her work since I read ‘Haweswater’ when it came out and have loved watching her development. ‘How to Paint a Dead Man’ felt like a bit of a misstep to me, but this collection just reaffirms my belief that she is one of the best young (I say young, she’s a couple of years older than me) writers around.
    There’s a quote on the back of this book from SJ Watson saying that this collection has “reignited my love of the form” and I have to agree. I have so many short story collections languishing unread on my shelves, bought either because I enjoy the author’s longer work (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ali Smith, Joyce Carol Oates), or because of rave reviews (Daniyal Mueenuddin, Claire Wigfall, Clark Blaise), but always when it comes to picking what to read next I go for a novel. So I’m going to make it a New Year’s reading resolution to always have a collection on the go. I could say I’ll try and read a story every day, but I know I won’t stick to that, but if I can get through one collection a month that’ll be twelve of those unread books on my shelves that are finally getting the attention that (I hope) they deserve.

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