Love and Other Possibilities, By Lewis Davies

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The Independent Culture

"Less is more" might have been Lewis Davies' motto in composing these 10 spare short stories. Each is a sliver of somebody's life at a particular place and time: a successful but lonely gay playwright in Morocco; a recently bereaved, alcoholic widower with his young son in Spain; a football coach in Wales observing the family troubles of his most gifted player; a man on holiday in India who resists the entreaties of a begging sadhu, only to have his rucksack stolen on the train; an actor who is unable to distinguish himself from his character after starring in a soap opera for 15 years; a medical student who develops a sympathy for the obese corpse she dissects.

These aren't stories with plots or twists: just studies in what it's like to be creatures of warm blood and nerves, living in the world. Davies' prose is simple and effortless, the kind of writing that wins competitions – and indeed "Mr Roopratna's Chocolate", the story of a Muslim taxi-driver in Cardiff whose infant son is in hospital with meningitis, won the Rhys Davies short story award when it was first published in 1999.