Ten Stories About Smoking

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She was far later than expected, but she didn't think it mattered. Read a story from this collection in EveryDay Genuis.

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Ten Stories About Smoking , however, in its cheeky "fag carton" packaging, is a delight, not least because the smoking "theme" is handled with skill, humour and often great subtlety. Linda, the protagonist, is a hardcore smoker whose often mentally chaotic, unprivileged life is literally and metaphorically many miles away from that of her wealthy, successful brother and sister in law.

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A visit to their luxurious Kent home underlines the differences in their lives; her smoking is often a "smokescreen" between herself and her relatives and sometimes between objective reality and her own perceptions. Linda, however, has a rich inner life, a compulsive tenderness and generosity that makes her the warmest and most likeable character in this beautifully observed story; the ending, which cuts off - stubs out, perhaps? Packaged like a guilty, disposable indulgence, the collection reminds us that the short story is perfect for bringing some colour and imagination into a day, and that we are never, ever too busy to read — nip out for a five-minute break; snatch a sneaky story with a glass of wine.

Topics Short stories.

Ten Stories about Smoking

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Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. That said, I tried not to expect too much from a book that looks like a pack of cigarettes.


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With very low expectations, however, I found this an enjoyable collection. The stories are largely realistic, rather drab, modern, unglamorous, full of failed relationships and regret. A man tracks down his hitherto unknown half-brother only to find their father sired countless children and the half-brother is by now quite fed up with people turning up and expecting hugs and truths.

Book of the week - Ten Stories About Smoking by Stuart Evers

A woman contacts an ex-lover for a last fling before marriage, and is crushed to find he no longer smokes, no longer has the same car, that he is in fact no longer exactly the same. A man buys black market cigarettes from a Ukrainian woman, is drawn to her, and then she disappears without trace. This story is the strongest and suggests Evers has real talent. The hipster is both sympathetic and alarming; the disconnect between her imagination and reality is subtly and poignantly told:. The sun was going down, the amber light licking at the water in the swimming pool.

From absolutely nowhere, Linda got a violently precise image of living there; of being a functioning part of the family. Picking up Poppy from school, cooking dinner for Christine and Daniel, pouring them a glass of wine when they got home strafed and exhausted. Then leaving them to eat as she got Poppy ready for bed, reading her a story before they kissed her goodnight, stories that would give her a love of books.

Ten Stories About Smoking | The English Bookshop

And in the summer she and Poppy would swim together in the pool, splashing each other and screaming. She saw them both there, ghostlike and transparent in the water, their faces alight with happiness.


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She could see it so clearly. This is a story that repays re-readings. Smoking is crucial here, as a symbol of a way of life, or rather how Linda is perceived by the rich and physically and mentally healthy: as a grubby, yellow-fingered aberration; and she comes to see herself so.