A City Burning by Angela Graham

J. L. Harland • July 11th, 2021

A debut collection of short stories from Angela Graham.

A book full of short stories is always welcome. A series of short trips as opposed to one long journey in a novel. This collection from Angela Graham offers a variety of those short trips. Stories from Wales, Northern Ireland, where Angela Graham hails from, and Italy. Twenty-six stories, each one different but with a thread of similarity in theme – characters at a crossroads in life.

Many of these tales have been published and several have won prizes. It’s not hard to see why. The prose is elegant with a clarity of voice and purpose. The tone matches the tales they tell providing the reader with a sense of both place and person. The use of Welsh and Ulster Scots in some of these stories brings a vivacity to the page.

These narratives are both contemporary and historic in nature, spanning a past endured or imagined and present experiences. The characters in their different ways each face a decision - how to continue with their lives after some event that has had an impact on their sense of who they are or what their beliefs tell them. Particular favourites are Life-Task and All Through the Night; poignant and haunting stories lingering in the mind long after the book is closed.

A City Burning presents the reader with memorable characters and thought-provoking stories, its lyrical writing and depth of perception providing insight into the human condition.

Angela Graham’s short story collection, A City Burning, was published by Seren in 2020.

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