Touchy Subjects, By Emma Donoghue

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The Independent Culture

Emma Donoghue's Man Booker-shortlisted Room was inspired by the real life events of the Elisabeth Fritzl case. This collection of short stories, first published in 2006, sees the author in more frivolous mode, though still with a penchant for revealing secrets.

In the story "Pluck", a stay-at-home father becomes obsessed by a rogue bristle sprouting under his girlfriend's pretty chin.

Other stories include the dire consequences of a polite social lie, the acid thoughts of a creative writing teacher, and the conjectures of a woman waiting on her friend's husband's sperm donation.

Mischievous in content and lucidly written, the tales dramatise the ordinary moments on which everyday lives turn. It's a collection that swaps epiphanies for laughs.