Comma Press £9.99
Ios paperback review: Tea at the Midland, By David Constantine
Sunday 16 December 2012
The 16 stories here are about marginalised people whose response to society is a sort of farouche defiance, expressed not as opposition but simply by being themselves, and extracting a fragile joy from the business of living.
In "Goat", a soon-to-be-unfrocked canon dances with a homeless man in a derelict building at night to the strains of a penny whistle. The longest story in the book, "An Island", is part love letter, part suicide note, part empathetic observation of the lives of others. The writing is beautiful: the description of an undercooked turkey in "Ayery Thinness" is a prose-poem in itself. The excellence of the collection is fractal: the whole book is excellent, and every story is excellent, and every paragraph is excellent, and every sentence is excellent. And unlike some literary fiction, it's effortless to read.
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
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