Archive for December, 2011

A Peanut Cruncher’s Defence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

‘A Peanut Cruncher’s Defence: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes’ first appeared in volume 5 of Kill Your Darlings. It is reproduced here in full with the generous permission of Kill Your Darlings. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Legacy, Memorialisation, Grief and Loss’ – Amanda Curtin’s ‘Inherited’

I approach collections of short stories with trepidation. Not because I dislike the short story form (quite the contrary) but because of how emotionally taxing I find collections. At the end of a novel I need time to pause, reflect and, sometimes, grieve. I need to gather up what I will take from the novel as a writer, reader and human being and let it percolate through me. For this reason I can never commence one novel immediately after finishing another. I need three or four days to let my responses simmer and settle. The short story collection requires that I undergo this process at the end of each story rather than at the end of the book. It causes me a sort of emotional whiplash. Unless I’m in peak psychological condition (sadly, a rarity) I tend to pass over collected works of short fiction.

That said, I was such a fan of Amanda Curtin’s 2008 novel The Sinkings that I could not resist her new collection of short stories, Inherited. Read the rest of this entry »