Rainy outlook to sea from empty promenade

Tea at the Midland

David Constantine

The characters in David Constantine s fourth collection are often delicately caught in moments of defiance. Disregarding their age, their family, or the prevailing political winds, they show us a way of marking out a space for resistance and taking an honest delight in it.

Witness Alphonse having broken out of an old people s home, changed his name, and fled the country now pedalling down the length of the Rhône, despite knowing he has barely six months to live.

Or the clergyman who chooses to spend Christmas Eve and the last few hours in his job in a frozen, derelict school, dancing a wild jig with a vagrant called Goat.

Key to these characters defiance is the power of fiction, the act of holding real life at arm s length and simply telling a story be it of the future they might claim for themselves, or the imagined lives of others. Like them, Constantine s bewitching, finely-wrought stories give us permission to escape, they allow us to side-step the inexorable traffic of our lives, and beseech us to take possession of the moment.

Contemporary fictionShort stories
Publishing Details:
Comma Press, 2012

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