This book gathers together for the first time many of Vanessa Gebbie’s award-winning stories. Described by Maggie Gee as ‘a prodigiously gifted new writer’, this is a natural storyteller; her narratives unfold with a deceptively light touch, exploring with compassion what it is to be human and flawed. ‘Words From a Glass Bubble’ is about coming to terms with the cards we are dealt. The stories pivot around the recognition that those who seem powerless can prove to be the strongest catalysts for change, both in themselves and in others. Vanessa Gebbie never shies away from difficult subjects, creating an intensely emotional and at times distressing world, but it is never totally dark or despairing. Sparks of the unexpected and flashes of humour light the whole collection with an indefatigable optimism.
“…contains some of the most beautifully crafted and engrossing stories that one can read…a rare talent…characters becoming real as she relates their tales with wit, compassion and an unflinching eye.” Sara Crowley
“The stories are riveting…the humour especially enjoyable,”
“Terrific stuff: wide-ranging, interesting and very well-written.” …
Tim Love’s Literary References
“…enough good pieces in enough styles for the book to be used as an anthology demonstrating how stories should be written nowadays.
Stuck in a Book
“leaves one staring at the page at the sheer pathos Gebbie can create… there is nothing so saccharine as a ‘love conquers all’ message here …but a sense that hope can be found amongst fragility and discouragement.”
Some Amazon reviews:
We read this collection in our book club and found it fascinating – and not all of us are fans of short stories. There was a majority verdict, too: the style and narrative of each story sat perfectly within the format, and the format provided a compulsion to read on. We look forward to Ms Gebbie’s next book of short stories!
The content is often centred around loss, providing a springboard for acute observations of human behaviour. Ms Gebbie has created page-turner stories by looking at the minutiae of life from vivid angles, and by dealing deftly with the challenge of beginning, developing and ending a critical episode in the life of each of her protagonists.
Exquisite, disturbing, compassionate
This is an exceptional collection of short stories. I am not usually a great short story reader, preferring the immersion one gets with the world of a novel, but there have been a few short story collections recently that have created as much impact as a novel in just one story. This is one of them. ‘I Can Squash the King, Tommo’ is my favourite – understated yet emotionally devastating. Almost every story made me put the book down to savour the writing and think about the layers that are so skilfully floated under the surface of the story. On second reading I enjoyed them just as much in a different way and suspect I could read them again and again and find new meaning. This is an exceptional achievement. The two other collections I’d recommend are Junot Diaz’s ‘Drown’ and Christopher Coake’s ‘We’re in Trouble.’
A Brilliant Storyteller
Intriguing, gripping and poetic stories whose characters live in your mind long after you’ve finished the book.
Beautiful, lyrical writing, by turns thoughtful, passionate and funny. I loved it.
My favourite stories would have to be ‘Dodie’s Gift’ and ‘Harry’s Catch’ – they are masterpieces of understanding and compassion, without ever seeming mawkish or overly sentimental.
All of the stories are great, though. I just can’t recommend this highly enough.