Synopses & Reviews
Twice selected for Granta
s list of Best Young British Novelists, winner of the 2007 Costa Book Award for her acclaimed novel Day
is a novel of extraordinary complexity”—The New York Review of Books
), which was also chosen as one of New York
magazines top ten books of the year—the internationally revered A. L. Kennedy returns with a story collection whose glorious wit and vitality make this a not-to-be-missed addition to the canon of one of our most formidable young writers.
No one captures the spirit of our times like A. L. Kennedy, with her dark humor, poignant hopefulness, and brilliant evocation of contemporary social and spiritual malaise. In the title story, a man abandons his indifferent wife and wanders into a small-town movie theater where he finds himself just as invisible as he was at home. In the masterfully comic “Saturday Teatime,” a woman trying to relax in a flotation tank is hijacked by memories of her past. In “Whole Family with Young Children Devastated,” a woman, inadvertently drawn into a strangers marital dysfunction, meditates on the failings of modern life as seen through late-night television and early-morning walks.
Powerful and funny, intimate and profound, the stories in What Becomes are further proof that Kennedy is one of the most dazzling and inventive writers of her generation.
"A bold new collection by relentlessly surprising Scottish author Kennedy (Day) finds her characters pinned somewhere between love and pain. In the title story, about a lone man's evening attending a smalltown cinema, the denouement comes very gradually, as it does frequently throughout, reflecting a kind of reluctant dawning of consciousness: the protagonist, a forensics expert traumatized by having seen so much carnage, has left his wife after the death of their young daughter, an event that has rendered them unable to stand the guilt and anger evoked by the other's presence. 'Wasps' captures a young wife and mother as she is making a Sunday breakfast. This seemingly typical scene is frozen by the menace of the philandering husband's leaving for good and his icy treatment of his angry wife. 'Saturday Teatime' depicts the panicked delayed memory shock experienced by a child listening to her father's abuse of her mother, while 'Marriage' portrays the excruciating emotional and physical aftermath of a violent sexual encounter between a husband and wife. These stories are polished to perfection, full of very dark turns and exemplary of Kennedy's inventiveness." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)