All the Rage
By A. L. Kennedy
(New Harvest, Hardcover, 9780544307049, 215pp.)
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
List Price: $24.00*
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"All the Rage" was named to the shortlist of 'Best Short Story Collection 2014' by The Frank O'Connor Prize.
A.L. Kennedy, the author of "The Blue Book" and "Day," writes like a force of nature. Claire Messud says she's "one of Britain's most iconoclastic and fiercely independent talents." Richard Ford calls her "a profound writer," and Ali Smith dubbed her "the laureate of good hurt."
"All the Rage" is Kennedy's riveting new collection, a luscious feast of language that encompasses real estate and forlorn pets, adolescents and sixtysomethings, weekly liaisons and obsessive affairs, "certain types of threat and the odder edges of sweet things." The women and men in these dozen stories search for love, solace, and a clear glimpse of what their lives have become. Anything can set them off thinking--the sad homogeneity of hotel breakfasts, a sex shop operated under Canadian values (whatever those are), an army of joggers dressed as Santa. With her boundless empathy and gift for the perfect phrase, Kennedy makes us care about each of her characters. In "Takes You Home," a man's attempt to sell his flat becomes a journey to the interior, by turns comic and harrowing. And "Late in Life" deftly evokes an intergenerational love affair free of the usual cliches, the younger partner asking the older, "What should I wear at your funeral?"
Alive with memory, humor, and longing, "All the Rage" is A.L. Kennedy at her inimitable best.
May 2014 Best Book of the Month by Amazon in the Literature & Fiction category.