“Sally Emerson writes like a dangerous angel” Douglas Adams
In these stories of menace and desire, Sally Emerson introduces the eerie into her keen-eyed portraits of everyday life. In them love, sex and stormy weather really do threaten or imprison the unwary.
A clerk in a register office receives death certificates dated in the future; can she save the victims? A childless woman finds a way to clone her husband; but will the cloned son be condemned to repeat the mistakes of the father? A suburban mother finds her health supplements have amorous side effects; can she resist the waves of lust and keep her hands off her neighbours?
Emerson’s tales of ordinary life invaded by forces beyond our control are beguiling and uncanny and spiked with her trademark black humour as she celebrates the tenuous gap between reality and unreality. Likened to Roald Dahl and Helen Dunmore, with a dash of Shirley Jackson, this is compulsive reading by a writer of the very highest quality.
My thoughts and thanks
Grace Pilkington Publicity
It is with thanks to Grace Pilkington for the invitation to join this amazing BlogTour that I am not only able to read and share my thoughts about Perfect by Sally Emerson on my blog tomorrow, 30 June, but also to be able to share this wonderful guest post with you all. If you haven’t already do take a good look at the other BlogTour posts.
Now, without further ado here is Sally Emerson in her own words.
I’ve been writing all my life, from stories as a child to diaries as a troubled twelve-year old onwards. I find it a great joy and solace, to be able to create alternative realities, to be able to hop from my ordinary life into something different and arresting. My first novel I wrote in my early twenties, ‘Second Sight’, about a girl growing up who falls in love with her mother’s young lover but also how she imagines as companions the poet Shelley and the great female Restoration writer Aphra Behn. It was a best seller, won prizes, and was published by Doubleday in the US.
My third novel ‘Fire Child’ took things further: the hero and heroine are dangerous characters; one can make any man love her when she smiles at them, the other likes to burn things and met the devil one night. It’s the favourite of my novels. It was called a ‘bonfire of a book’ and it was said it had ‘the immoderate quality of myth’.
And now, after six novels, I have written a collection of short stories, ‘Perfect, Stories of the Impossible’, some of which certainly have an immoderate quality. Jane Thynne wrote that ‘They’re uncanny, and quite unlike anything else you’ll read’ while Amanda Craig wrote ‘hard-edge suspense and pared-down prose, like a feminist Roald Dahl’. The stories start comfortably enough, in ordinary settings, but soon things shift and we are in a stranger world: a woman decides to have a son by cloning her husband, a clerk in a registry office receives death certificates dated in the future and races to save the victims, falling in love on the way. For these are unsettling stories but not savage like Roald Dahl, and often full of light and joy. As I get older, it is all about the darkness and the joy, about both.
My favourite two books are Graham Greene’s ‘The End of the Affair’ for its analysis of how close love is to hate and for its injection of the other, the strange and impossible, into startling story and also ‘Labyrinths’ by Borges for its searingly imaginative fables and mental games with time and space. I like stories that entrance. I like wonder in my life and in my writing and in my reading.
John Walsh commented that my stories begin in calm settings but soon reveal ‘shadows of menace and desire. Love, sex and stormy weather threaten or imprison the unwary.’ In all my fiction, love and desire and menace are never far from the scene.
It was a pleasure to create the short stories, to have to hurl the reader straight into the story, to have the characters right there, ready to roll, and to know that it was vital to tease the reader, to keep the reader guessing, to keep up the suspense, so that the unknown wasn’t just at times the subject of the stories, but also the form.
Thank you so much, Emma, for your wonderful words and insights. It’s been a pleasure to host your piece. All best wishes for Perfect, Stories of the Impossible in it’s publication month.
Sally Emerson is the award-winning author of six novels, including bestsellers Fire Child, Heat and Separation. This is her first collection of short stories. She lives in London. Her website is: www.sallyemerson.com
Perfect, Stories of the Impossible by Sally Emerson published by Quadrant Books (£8.99) on 1st June 2022
Sally Emerson is the award-winning author of six novels, including bestsellers Fire Child, Heat and Separation. This is her first collection of short stories. She lives in London.
Her website is www.sallyemerson.com.
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