In Emma Neale’s first collection of short fiction, the tales range from the surreal to the real; from the true to the tall. This collection includes some of her internationally recognised flash fiction and more extended examinations of the eerie gaps and odd swerves in intimate relationships. There are confidence tricksters, compulsive liars, emotional turn-coats, the pulse of jumbled childhood memory still felt in adult life, the weird metamorphosis of fantasy hardening into reality. A woman meets up with an ex-lover after twenty years, to be told an outrageous secret; a mother takes her ailing son to a doctor for an undocumented condition; a bride is left at the altar; a brother and sister reel from a family tragedy decades after the event; a children’s birthday party turns all Queen of the Flies; a hidden family legacy appears in a grand-daughter’s strange affliction. From everyday realism to the speculative and imaginary, recurring motifs in these stories (the scientist father; the mystery of identity even within families; what we can’t know about even those closest to us) toy with the boundaries between memory and the unknown: the blending of the real and the invented.
The Pink Jumpsuit: Short Fictions, Tall Truths
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- Emma Neale