Bad Dreams and Other Stories

Bad Dreams and Other Stories

3.75 (355 ratings by Goodreads)
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In these short stories it's the ordinary things that turn out to be most extraordinary: the history of a length of fabric, say, and a forgotten jacket. Two sisters quarrel over an inheritance and a new baby; a child awake in the night explores the familiar rooms of her home, strange in the dark; a housekeeper caring for a helpless old man uncovers secrets from his past. The first steps into a turning point and a new life are made so easily and carelessly: the stories focus in on crucial moments of transition, often imperceptible to the protagonists. A girl accepts a lift in a car with some older boys, or a young woman reads the diaries she comes across when she's housesitting. Small acts have large consequences, and some of them reverberate across decades; things fantasised in private can reach out to affect other people, for better and worse. An older woman recovering from serious illness speaks to a lonely young man on a train; an old friend brings bad news to a dinner party; a schoolteacher in the throes of a painful affair in 1914 has mixed feelings about her pupils' suffragette craze. The real things that happen to people, the accidents that befall them, are every bit as mysterious as their longings and their dreams. Bad Dreams shows yet again that Tessa Hadley is a master of her art, one of the very finest writers at work in Britain more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 24mm | 362g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1910702889
  • 9781910702888
  • 60,845

Review quote

"Few writers give me such consistent pleasure." * Zadie Smith * "Tessa Hadley has become one of this country's great contemporary novelists ... possessed of a psychological subtlety reminiscent of Henry James, and an ironic beadiness worthy of Jane Austen" * Guardian * "Hadley is a writer whose reputation grows with every book... This new collection of short stories reconfirms her remarkable talent... Hadley excels at both genres, brilliant at conveying emotion and with an uncanny ability to get under her character's skin... These stories brim with a keen intelligence and linger in the mind long after you close the book." -- Sebastian Shakespeare * Tatler * "[It is] lapidary, full of the most gorgeous sentences and brilliant observations." -- Alex Preston * Observer, 2017 Books of the Year * "Hadley's quiet rise to become one of Britain's best writers is further confirmed by her new collection, Bad Dreams and Other Stories... These well-turned, exceptionally nuanced pieces are solidly evocative of place, period...and sensory detail." -- Phil Baker * Sunday Times * "Compassionate and luminous, Hadley sees... us all: our travails, our fantasies and our small joys." -- Claire Messud * Financial Times * "It is exquisite, haunting... This is writing of great nuance and psychological acuity... It combines acerbic social observation and wry humour with moments of breathtaking delicacy and tenderness." -- KJ Orr * Guardian * "The ordinary becomes extraordinary in these masterly short stories by one of the most brilliant and under-read writers of our time." * Mail on Sunday, 2017 Books of the Year * "Hadley has an anthropological gift; she notices the small, regular gestures and responses of the everyday, and demonstrates their enormous impact on our perception of the world, and thus, every relationship we have." -- Jane Graham and Doug Johnstone * Big Issue * "The absorbing nature of Hadley's novels is demonstrated... through her ability to capture the intricate details of domestic life and make them interesting... The sense of nostalgia she creates and the wonderfully descriptive storytelling compel you to finish each story." * UK Press Syndication * "This is a delightful introduction to the absorbing writing of Tessa Hadley and her ability to make domestic life interesting." -- Linda Wright * i * "Full of... subtle, wise, finely grained observations." -- Claire Lowdon * Literary Review * "It is the quiet, reflective moments that make Tessa Hadley's stories so poignant and insightful... there is a psychological heft to her observations." -- Eithne Farry * Sunday Express * "Hadley's writing is direct and a pleasure to read, and she has an uncanny ability to capture the intricate details of everyday life." -- Kate Whiting * The Scotsman * "A new collection... demonstrates once again Hadley's unerring craft... Hadley's agile sentences never seek to dazzle, yet showcase her unerring craft nonetheless." -- Anthony Cummins * Guardian *show more

About Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom, The London Train, Clever Girl and The Past, and two collections of stories, Sunstroke and Married Love. The Past won the Hawthornden Prize for 2016. She lives in London and is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker and other more

Review Text

"Compassionate and luminous, Hadley sees… us all: our travails, our fantasies and our small joys."show more

Rating details

355 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 20% (71)
4 46% (164)
3 25% (90)
2 6% (21)
1 3% (9)
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