Today I’m sharing my thoughts on What Are You Like, a short story collection from Shelley Day. I previously read and loved the author’s debut novel The Confession of Stella Moon, which was very well received. (You can read my review of that by clicking here.)
The stories in this collection are of varying lengths ranging from a single paragraph to several pages. Yet, whatever the length, all stand complete in themselves.
In the collection there is sometimes a continuity of characters, especially with Sadie and her sister Cora appearing several times. Some stories are loosely connected with the author picking up threads from the tales at various points throughout the book and weaving them into later stories. For that reason I’d recommend reading through the book linearly, rather than dipping in and out as is often possible with a short story collection.
It was good to encounter a young Stella Moon again, and be reminded of what an unusual and sometimes difficult childhood she had. She is definitely quirky, somewhat other worldly and that could equally be said of many of the stories.
Some of the stories have an almost autobiographical feel and the writer’s personality shines through. Shelley Day’s writing is by turns moving, unsettling, thought provoking, funny and uplifting. Her deft words are concise yet convey so much. Shelley Day is an accomplished storyteller bringing her characters, settings and situations vividly to life.
My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to take part in the blogtour and to the publishers for my copy of the book. What Are You Like is published by Postbox Press and is available to order directly from their website. Click here to order: What Are You Like
From the back of the book
In this remarkable debut collection, watch the characters grapple with what life throws at them, never quite sinking under the weight of it all. Shelley Day’s stories explore what we can’t quite grasp. They celebrate the uncertainties of language. The settings here are exquisitely imagined no-man’s-lands at once strange yet oddly familiar. Here are worlds where the improbable becomes possible: a mother finds herself living on a library shelf, a diner finds words sliding from his menu into nothingness, a psychiatrist cracks up in front of his patient, and there’s a stain on the wall that won’t stop spreading. These extraordinary stories take us to the psychological hinterlands that make us who we are. What are you like? Do you know the answer?
‘These are real short stories from a real writer: full of the telling detail, the betraying detail, the immaculately-rendered thought… The title work alone is a visceral, unforgettable, punch-drunk joy. Read this book.’
—A. L. Kennedy, award-winning novelist and short story writer
About the author
Shelley Day has been a litigation lawyer, academic psychologist and research professor. She began writing fiction in 2007 and her short stories have appeared in anthologies, online and in newspapers and magazines, including New Writing Scotland. ‘The Confession of Stella Moon’, her first novel, won the Andrea Badenoch Prize and was shortlisted for the Charles Pick Fellowship when it was still a work-in-progress.