From Mark Haddon, author ofThe CuriousIncident of the Dog in the Night-Time,A Spot of Bother, and The Red House, nine dazzling stories diverse in style but united in emotional powerThe tales in Mark Haddon's lyrical and uncompromising new collection take many formsVictorian adventure story, science fiction, morality tale, contemporary realismbut they all showcase his virtuoso gifts as a stylist and the deep well of empathy that made his three bestselling novels so compelling. The characters here are often isolated physically or estranged from their families, yet they yearn for connection. In aggregate the stories become a meditation on the essential aloneness of the human condition but also on the connections, however tenuous and imperfect, that link people to one another. In the titlestory, an unnamed narrator describes with coolprecision a catastrophe that strikes a seaside town, both tearing lives apart and bringing them together. In the prizewinning story ';The Gun,' a boy's life is marked by the afternoon he encounters a semiautomatic pistol belonging to his friend's older brother; in ';The Island,' a Greekprincess is abandoned on an island by her abductor; in ';The Boys Who Left Home to LearnFear,' a group of adventurers travel deep intothe Amazonian jungle but discover the gravest danger lurking among their own number; and in ';The Woodpecker and the Wolf,' a woman wonders whether she has chosen totravel to Mars only to escape the entanglementof human relationships back here on Earth. Drawing inventively from history, myth, folktales, and modern life, The Pier Falls showcases Haddon's immense gifts of invention and penetrating insight.From the Hardcover edition.
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