The Pier Falls
And Other Stories
Mark Haddon, author of international bestsellers The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Spot of Bother, returns with a collection of unsparing short stories.
In the prize-winning story "The Gun," a man's life is marked by a single afternoon and a rusty .45; in "The Island," a mythical princess is abandoned on an island in the midst of war; in "The Boys Who Left Home to Learn Fear," a cadre of sheltered artistocrats sets out to find adventure in a foreign land and finds the gravest dangers among themselves. These are but some of the men and women who fill this searingly imaginitive and emotionally taut collection of short stories, weaving through time and space to showcase Mark Haddon's incredible versatility.
Yet the collection achieves a sum that is greater than its parts, proving itself a meditation not only on isolation and loneliness but also on the tenuous and unseen connections that link individuals to each other, often despite themselves. In its titular story, the narrator describes with fluid precision a catastrophe that will collectively define its victims as much as it will disperse them--and brilliantly lays bare the reader's appetite for spectactle alongside its characters'. Cut with lean prose and drawing inventively from history, myth, fairy tales and, above all, the deep well of empathy that made his three novels so compelling, The Pier Falls reveals a previously unseen side of the celebrated author.
From the Hardcover edition.
"[An] intense and frequently jaw-dropping collection. . . . Haddon [has] remarkable talent." —Toronto Star
"[Mark Haddon] is a virtuoso stylist and a fabricator of many forms. . . . In The Pier Falls and Other Stories, Haddon pretends with abandon. And then he examines with devastating care." —Chicago Tribune
"Exquisite. . . . His prose is limpid, blackly funny and shiny with particularity. . . .[Haddon] writes with the craft of Julian Barnes or, even, Truman Capote." —The Times (UK)
"The Pier Falls and Other Stories is a startling good, gripping read." —The Independent (UK)
"A descriptive tour de force. . . . Superbly gripping stories." —Sunday Times (UK)
"Outstanding." —Daily Mail (UK)
"Every line makes you believe what he writes, [Haddon's] eye misses nothing. The stories are willed experiments, imaginations darkest what-ifs. . . . Their execution is outstanding."
—The Observer (UK)
"A sustained set of powerfully told stories. . . . It's as if Ian McEwan had never turned nice." —Evening Standard (UK)
"Mark Haddon is a master of haunting detail. This title story is a tour de force and the other eight are diverting reminders of just how transporting a perfectly constructed short story can be." —GQ (UK)
"Brilliant." —Glamour (UK)
"[Mark Haddon's] latest offering is a masterful collection of short stories. . . . Haddon is a consummate storyteller and The Pier Falls and Other Stories reveals a writer at the peak of his imagination. Some of these stories have already been shortlisted for awards and one suspects the whole collection will justifiably follow suit." —Hannah Beckerman, Sunday Express (UK)
"This is a top-notch collection." —Financial Times (UK)
"With the same sense of compassion and artistic dexterity that earned him a following with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Red House, Haddon presents nine widely varying tales. . . . As funny as they are dire, Haddon’s entertaining stories are reminders that tragedy is inevitable, but that we thrive in spite of it." —Booklist
"Best known for his celebrated novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Haddon delivers similarly crisp and steady prose with his short fiction. . . . Impressive in its scope and revelatory in its survey of man's faults and strengths, The Pier Falls and Other Stories is a certain contender for the best short story collection of 2016." —Paste Magazine
From the Hardcover edition.