Aphrodite's Hat, By Sally Vickers

Books Of The Year: A snack selection that leaves you wanting more

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The Independent Culture

The stories in this collection are so immediately appealing that you can devour them one after the other, like crisps.

Some are light-hearted, like "The Indian Child", a re-telling of A Midsummer Night's Dream; some have a touch of the supernatural, such as "The Fall of a Sparrow", with an appearance by the ghost of Keats. Central to the collection is "The Buried Life", a four-part story, the final part of which is Matthew Arnold's poem of that name: the preceding parts illuminate the theme of an inner life which we hide but yearn to share. Vickers has sympathy for her characters, but also a sharp eye for petty vices; she is able to create nasty female characters, something which few male writers have the confidence to do these days.