It's Beginning To Hurt

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A brilliant new collection from one of our finest story writers

Subject: Short stories
It's Beginning To Hurt, James Lasdun

The stories in this remarkable collection are vibrant, gripping and intricately worked, but they are more than simply small masterpieces of narrative art. James Lasdun's other great gift is his unfailing psychological instinct for the vertiginous moments when the essence of a life discloses itself. With forensic skill he exposes his characters' hidden desires and fears, drawing back the folds of their familiar self-delusions, their images of themselves, their habits and routines, to reveal them to themselves – and us – with brilliant clarity. In sharply evoked settings that range from the wilds of Northern Greece to the beaches of Cape Cod, these intensely dramatic tales chart the metamorphoses of their characters as they fall prey to the gamut of human passions. The lives in them seethe with love, hate, desire, fear, tender corruption and cruel idealism. They rise to unexpected heights of decency, stumble into comic or tragic folly, they throw themselves open to lust, longing, paranoia – but they are always recognisably, illuminatingly, our lives.As James Wood, the celebrated critic, has noted, ‘James Lasdun seems to me to be one of the secret gardens of English writing…when we read him we know what language is for.' This collection of haunting, richly humane pieces – including the first winner of the National Short Story Award, ‘An Anxious Man' – is further proof of the powers of enormously inventive writer.

Available Formats

  • Paperback
    $19.99 RRP
    ISBN: 9780099512325
    Published: 15/04/2010
    Imprint: Vintage
    Extent: 272 pages
  • eBook
    ISBN: 9781446418260
    Published: 04/01/2011
    Imprint: Vintage Digital
    Extent: 272 pages
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"James Lasdun writes the best sort of English prose. It relaxes you, assuring you you're in good hands, while its sensitivity keeps you alert" - Colin Greenland, Guardian

"Lasdun is a good poet; his prose here is marked by a fine, thoughtful, humane exactness" - Tom Deveson, The Sunday Times

"Many writers aim to create work that is unsettling, or perhaps even painful - though not, usually, too painful to bear, at least during the actual reading of the tale. Few, however, do it so well as James Lasdun" - John Burnside, The Times

"A sobering study of how humans cope when under pressure. Lasdun's prose is undeniably sound. Ingenious sentences are strung together with ease" - Theresa Munoz, Sunday Herald

"Lasdun's novels succeed as efficient entertainment, narrowly focused, linguistically dextrous, coolly presenting their characters' foibles... His short stories relinquish none of this gamesmanship, yet they seem to expand where the novels contract... Their characters have a complexity and confusion that override the unfolding plot. And the narratives seem opened up to the entire history of fiction... touching...revelatory...devastating" - Mark Kamine, Times Literary Supplement

"short stories from a master prose miniaturist" - New Stateman

"These stories have been well made and have been carefully fitted together... undeniably classy" - Sameer Rahim, Daily Telegraph

"A wonderful writer" - Irish Independent

"Inhabits his characters with the seemingly effortless sympathy of the gifted realist writer... Deserves all the honours it is able to accrue: a better book of short stories will not be published this year" - Kevin Power, The Irish Times

"a collection whose seemingly ordinary surfaces conceal precipitous depths" - Claire Allree, Metro