We hadn’t read any short stories previously so Jane Gardam’s collection ‘The Stories’ was a departure for us. Gardam’s writing is lovely – full of detail and gentle humour and great insight. The stories are very English although covering a range of genres (domestic, fantasy, end of Empire) and settings (Yorkshire, Wimbledon, Hong Kong, Malta) and often with a twist at the end. Her ability to capture place is wonderful with small telling details.
In a book of short stories there are bound to be some that don’t quite chime, but most were hugely enjoyable although some of the group felt the lack of a beginning, middle and end structure. The stories are drawn from across her career and are presented in chronological order so you get a feel for the progression in her writing and subjects. Some of the earlier ones felt a little rooted in a time and order that has maybe past now.
Jane Gardam says ‘Short stories are nearer poetry than anything – They are like a conversation, a dialogue’.