Shortlisted for the East Midland's Book Award 2014
The Pre-War House and Other Stories is the debut collection from Alison Moore, whose first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Specsavers National Book Awards 2012.
The stories collected here range from her first prize-winning short story (which appeared in a small journal in 2000) to new and recently published work. In between, Moore's stories have been shortlisted for more than a dozen different awards including the Bridport Prize, the Fish Prize, the Lightship Flash Fiction Prize, the Manchester Fiction Prize and the Nottingham Short Story Competition. The title story won first prize in the novella category of The New Writer Prose and Poetry Prizes.
Publisher: Salt Publishing
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 432 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 21 mm
Edition: New edition
There is an insistent, rhythmic quality to Moore's writing, and a dark imagination at work.-- Genevieve Fox * Daily Mail *
Many of the themes centre around family, relationships, loss, and uncertainty. Some of the stories create a sense of claustrophobia as the characters become trapped in situations beyond their control. Each piece has its own unique style but the thread weaving through the collection is an intangible sense of anticipation. It is a delicious read and, having read some of the stories a few times, it is something I will keep going back to. A remarkable debut collection which comes highly recommended.-- F.C. Malby
The level of accomplishment on display in this bleak narrative is remarkable. Moore is not, however, a beginner. She has been publishing short stories since 2000, and that apprenticeship shaped her first novel. Now she has published a collection of her stories, and it turns out to be just as uncompromising and unsettling as The Lighthouse ... Moore's distinctive voice commands exceptional power.-- Dinah Birch * The Guardian *
[A]lmost every story works beautifully and Moore is clearly a master of the short form writing. They are atmospheric, often sad and dark, and weighed down my memory. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the final story with gives the collection its title. This is a longer piece than most of the others, as a daughter sells the family home which stirs memories of a surprising life within the four, pre-war walls of the house.* The Bookbag *
Evocative and sinister, it builds relentlessly to its inevitable unwanted climax. Impressive and memorable.-- Merric Davidson * The New Writer *
It should come as no surprise that The Pre-War House is a controlled and powerful piece of prose fiction, coming as it does from an author whose debut novel features on the recently released Man Booker 2012 [shortlist].-- Dan Powell
An understated series of stories by Moore-whose first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize-captures facets of loss and obligation. Set in empty homes, isolated fortresses, and seaside cottages, these stories use physical spaces as echo chambers of memory-of what once was or what might have been. In and out of them, women and girls (plus two male protagonists) skirt life's darkest forces, particularly the weight of birth, death, and infidelity. In "Seclusion," Maureen, once a desired young woman, contends with onslaughts of forgetfulness and fearful isolation-until she attempts to seize control by stealing a reminder of her past in her daughter's old bedroom. "Late" finds a middle-aged woman queasily rushing to work after a cocktail-fueled evening with her deadbeat husband, taking stock of her marriage before returning that evening to a house that has been irrevocably changed. "Humming and Pinging" poignantly explores the sadness of infidelity from a child's perspective, while the meditative title story, which features a woman packing up her family home, shows that beneath the well-manicured lawns and tar soap-scented judgments of her childhood, more complicated secrets lurk. There's a sense of unmet expectations inherent in these stories-a version of the imagined past or present that juts up against reality, creating a quiet sense of sadness that dogs these characters. As they navigate their lives, Moore slowly unearths their essential fears, regrets, and unmet desires, producing a subdued and beautiful feeling of yearning that leaves the reader ruminating long after the final page. A masterful collection.* Kirkus Reviews *