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Funderland, By Nigel Jarrett

A family recipe for creating tension

Nigel Jarrett's stories take seemingly ordinary or innocent situations and gently tease out their emotional complexity. Both "Funderland" and "A Point of Dishonour" confound expectations superbly.

In the former, a couple who are not a couple negotiate a weekend away and their suppressed feelings for one another, while in the latter, a woman challenges the notion that her great-grandfather, shot for desertion during the First World War, should be seen as a hero. Jarrett likes the hidden tensions in family situations: caused by the strange stepfather in "Watching the Birdie", for example. He's not afraid of unusual perspectives and his bravery is well rewarded in this unusual and sensitive collection.