Matters of Life and Death: Stories

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9780393057164: Matters of Life and Death: Stories

"MacLaverty's tales are poised and beautifully balanced, outward yet intimate, graced by both subtlety and substance."―The Independent

A new book from Bernard MacLaverty is a cause for celebration, but Matters of Life and Death is more than that. It is the finest collection yet from a contemporary master of the form.

Beginning with the sudden terror of a family caught up in shocking sectarian violence, and ending with the whiteout of an Iowa blizzard and the fear of losing your way very far from home, this collection is about bonds made and broken, secret and known. In the extraordinary story "Up the Coast," a landscape painter discovers a place that makes her, finally, feel whole, only to have that communion shattered by an arbitrary act of aggression that will resonate throughout her life.

Written with effortless skill and empathy, these stories are hauntingly real. MacLaverty's perfect attention to every detail, every nuance of idiom and character, remakes the world for us here on the page.

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About the Author:

Bernard MacLaverty lives in Glasgow, Scotland. His books include Cal and Grace Notes, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award.

From Publishers Weekly:

From 1970s Belfast during the Protestant and Catholic "Troubles" to the calmer but still tense present, MacLaverty (Grace Notes, shortlisted for the Booker) exploits the subtle nuances of Irish life in these 11 stories. Violence is never far off for his characters, and though they may try to distance themselves from conflict (spatially as well as emotionally), it inevitably finds them. In "On the Roundabout," the short stream-of-consciousness piece that begins the collection, a family outing "like something outa Norman Rockwell" turns into a blood-soaked frenzy of unprovoked violence. In "A Trusted Neighbor," MacLaverty expertly mines the tension between ordinary folk caught in a conflict that only seems far away from their suburban enclave. Terror and comedy coexist in "The Trojan Sofa" when an 11-year-old burglar, caught by his intended victim and held at gunpoint, asks if he can use the bathroom. "The Clinic," a less lively story, features a curmudgeon who turns to Chekhov as his health fails. At his best, MacLaverty recalls Graham Greene, and his control over arc and character packs a wallop. (Sept.)
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Bernard MacLaverty
ISBN 10: 039305716X ISBN 13: 9780393057164
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MacLaverty, Bernard
Editorial: W. W. Norton & Company (2006)
ISBN 10: 039305716X ISBN 13: 9780393057164
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Bernard MacLaverty
Editorial: W. W. Norton & Company (2006)
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