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The Shieling

by David Constantine

Each of these short stories has a quiet dignity. The episodes of loss and cruelty are recounted as tenderly as those of love and friendship. I found the collection a cathartic, restful read.

Extract

I had told her before, but it was in bed and she fell asleep. I carried on. She slept and woke and slept and my voice went babbling on. It was then that I learned you don't need the whole story. Falling asleep and missing some, coming in later, forgetting where you were, loveliest is the voice, the bits of the story running on and on. But wide awake that night on the wall and staring at his lighted window she insisted I tell it to her again, at least an episode.

Parallels

I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven
The Matisse Stories by A S Byatt
 

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