‘A gripping, wonderfully understated book that oozes humanity, emotion and humour.’ Guardian
Winner of the 2020 Butler Literary Award
Shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize 2019
Shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2019
Longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize and the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2019
‘Wendy Erskine’s first collection, Sweet Home . . . is every bit as good as her early stories in the always astute Stinging Fly magazine promised.’ Jon McGregor, New Statesman
Set in the author’s native Belfast, the ten stories in Sweet Home lay bare the heartbreak and quiet tragedies that run under the surface of everyday lives. A lonely woman is fascinated by her niqab-wearing
neighbours; a middle-aged teacher becomes obsessed with a young Gaelic football player; and an employer covers for his two employees caught having sex in a public toilet.
Wendy Erskine offers perfectly formed, brilliantly observed portraits of people trying to carve out a life for themselves, all the while being buffeted by the loss, grief and regret that come their way. Warm, compassionate and funny, Sweet Home captures life in contemporary East Belfast, in all of its forms.
A Book of the Year in the Guardian, The White Review, Observer, New Statesman, TLS.
Shot through with glimmering beauty, Sweet Home is a delight. * Daily Mail * An exceptional ear for dialogue, an impeccable semantic rhythm and an uncanny ability to tease laughter out of the darkest moments mean Erskine is perfectly poised to stare, unflinching, into our neoliberal abyss. The result is a gripping, wonderfully understated book that oozes humanity, emotion and humour. * Guardian * The best collection of short stories I've read since - ooh - Raymond Carver. It's that good. -- John Niven Spiky and funny, dark and stylish - Wendy Erskine is a natural-born story-teller, and this is a brilliant debut collection. -- Kevin Barry With skill and style, Erskine unpicks the underlying complexity of ordinary lives, the unexpected intricacy of ordinary situations. These are stories about ramification as opposed to redemption; dark, bittersweet and perfectly formed. -- Sara Baume A collection of deft, depth-charged short stories. -- Paul Muldoon * TLS * Wry and wise, gripping and funny, I loved this brilliant collection. -- David Nicholls Wendy Erskine's first collection, Sweet Home . . . is every bit as good as her early stories in the always astute Stinging Fly magazine promised. -- Jon McGregor * New Statesman * I was drawn to the depth and soul of Wendy Erskine's characters in her debut story collection Sweet Home. -- Nicole Flattery Erskine's arrestingly original debut short-story collection bears the ghost of 68-98, as she writes about the magic, ferocity and surrealism of contemporary Protestant Belfast. -- David Keenan * Guardian * Acutely, brilliantly observed . . . Erskine writes about her characters without sentiment but with compassion and, perhaps most importantly, with a sense of the absurd that finds humour in the darkest of places . . . The stories in Sweet Home are often very funny, even when they unsettle. * The Times * The best collection of short stories I've read in a long time, a real spark-plug of a book. -- Ian Sansom 'Summer books 2019' * TLS * Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine is a short story collection that everyone should investigate. -- Benjamin Myers * TLS * Completely brilliant . . . Erskine's gift for understated black comedy, crisp dialogue and sharp characterisation ensures that Sweet Home is no wallow in kitchen sink misery. Reading it is an enlivening experience and Erskine's career is one to keep an eye on in the years to come. -- Will Gore, 'Five books to read this Autumn' * Spectator * Among the best short stories I've ever read. -- Michael Hughes
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