“The title says it all. Close up and personal yet universal stories of childhood yearning, misunderstandings, loss and triumph. Beautifully written from inside, real people, ordinary homes. Set pieces, hilarious and tragic, the caravan site, the spring cleaning, the drinking game, crafted to perfection, short stories, to die for.” Kit De Waal
9 years in the making. 21 stories. Many of which have been shortlisted, longlisted or won short fiction prizes. ‘It’s Gone Dark over Bill’s Mother’s‘ finally brings all those gut-wrenching stories and storytellers together in this, Lisa’s debut short story collection.
Dominated by the working-class matriarch, you might remember the scruffy wisdom of Nan in the award-winning ‘Broken Crockery’; the arguing family in the Triumph Acclaim that made the annual family pilgrimage to ‘Barmouth’ every year in this memorable BBC Short story award shortlistee; there’s sleep-deprived Laura in ‘The Trees in the Wood’ muscling her way into her friend’s family; Thea taking on the neighbours in ‘The Cherry Tree’; or happy hooker Ruthie bringing up her four girls in the Bridport Prize shortlisted ‘The Land of Make Believe’. She appears in many shapes and forms, often with a poison tongue, always with a heart of gold. With a sharp eye and tough warmth, Lisa brings to life the silent histories and harsh realities of those living on the margins.
‘It’s gone dark over Bill’s mother’s’ is a Potteries’ saying that means it’s looking a bit bleak, a little like rain, and that’s why you’ll also find stories like ‘Featherbed Lane’ – reluctant schoolmates Breda and Frances reunite in later life to revisit the death of a schoolfriend – the claustrophobic ‘Fron’ set in a North Welsh quarrymen’s cottage where the fog shrouds lives and, eventually, the truth; and the exclusive publication of ‘Abdul’ ends this collection; longlisted for the 2018 Sunday Times Short Story Award – one of just 4 Brits to make the list – and tracing the single journey of a refugee to a destination he hasn’t quite bought. These are characters with stories that they wouldn’t want told, yet Lisa does so with such raw beauty, humour and humility that she strikes a new and welcome chord in regional and working-class fiction.
Available to pre-order here