Full of wit, unexpected turns of events and splendid writing
I adored Jane Gardam's The Stories. She does fiction as it should be done, with confidence and insight.
It is Jane Gardam's particular gift to be able to shine a light through these unexpected peepholes, straight into the human heart . . . marvellous
She has the Austeneaque quality of being satisfying and disquieting, conventional and experimental . . . conversational, lucid, realist yet fantastical, she can be outrageously funny, gradually revealing her characters by what is not said, and not seen . . . one of our greatest living writers
Sharp, funny, mischeivous and often menacing, [the stories] grab you by the throat. Gardam's fiction is always much more than it at first seems. Behind a superficial ordinariness is something extraordinary. Rather like the fiction of another celebrated Jane
It is good, too, to be reminded that Gardam is as brilliant a short story writer as she is a novelist . . . Gardam, like Penelope Fitzgerald, knows the supreme art of what and exactly how much to leave out . . . this is a deeply, impeccably humane and pleasurable book
Gardam's dialogue is a constant delight . . . Every character, however silent or minor, is accorded proper attention . . . Gardam's huge and firmly controlled imagination makes everything possible, everything credible . . . Of all the glories, here, 'Telegony' is the most compelling and it demonstrates Gardam's range of genius, with powerful characters, wit, doom, detailed settings and astonishing outcomes
Illuminating, unshowy and often funny, [the stories] bear comparison with those by Chekhov, Trevor and Munro and offer limitless, suitcase-friendly rereading
Each one of these narratives - none of them afraid of looking into the great terrifying secrets of love and grief, death, ageing and faith in a mere handful of pages - make the heart race. Sly, sharp and mischievous . . . It is Gardam's gift for the ecstatic, for showing us what a place of wonders is the world and the hearts that dwell in it, that endows this collection with a dangerous and formidable energy. She gives us miracle heaped upon miracle
Beautifully formed short stories . . . Gardam writes with wit, harnessing an expert use of dialogue to bring her characters to life . . . written by arguably one of our greatest living writers, the moments depicted in The Stories will certainly resonate long after the last page has been turned
There is little Gardam doesn't know about being in love, or any of the other vicissitudes of ordinary life . . . her funniness does not cease to sparkle, but she moves as surely as she entertains
Gardam's narratives are sharp and disconcerting . . . intimate and confiding . . . a compelling mixture of the strange and the familiar - well-told tales in which love, death and sorrow are properly valued. These moving and diverting meditations on the past offer a simple lesson: they don't make them like that any more. This collection is very welcome.
One of the finest living writers in the English language