The Pier Falls: Book summary and reviews of The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon

The Pier Falls

And Other Stories

by Mark Haddon

The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon X
The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon
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About this book

Book Summary

From Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, A Spot of Bother, and The Red House, nine dazzling stories diverse in style but united in emotional power

The tales in Mark Haddon's lyrical and uncompromising new collection take many forms - Victorian adventure story, science fiction, morality tale, contemporary realism - but they all showcase his virtuoso gifts as a stylist and the deep well of empathy that made his three bestselling novels so compelling.

The characters here are often isolated physically or estranged from their families, yet they yearn for connection. In aggregate the stories become a meditation on the essential aloneness of the human condition but also on the connections, however tenuous and imperfect, that link people to one another. In the title story, an unnamed narrator describes with cool precision a catastrophe that strikes a seaside town, both tearing lives apart and bringing them together. 

In the prizewinning story "The Gun," a boy's life is marked by the afternoon he encounters a semiautomatic pistol belonging to his friend's older brother; in "The Island," a Greek princess is abandoned on an island by her abductor; in "The Boys Who Left Home to Learn Fear," a group of adventurers travel deep into the Amazonian jungle but discover the gravest danger lurking among their own number; and in "The Woodpecker and the Wolf," a woman wonders whether she has chosen to travel to Mars only to escape the entanglement of human relationships back here on Earth.

Drawing inventively from history, myth, folktales, and modern life, The Pier Falls showcases Haddon's immense gifts of invention and penetrating insight.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In pristinely detailed prose, Haddon shocks us with the strong sense of our humanity. Highly recommended. " - Library Journal

"Though each story is beautifully written, Haddon is at his best when capturing the peculiarly dark, British mirth that accompanies disaster." - Publishers Weekly

"As funny as they are dire, Haddon's entertaining stories are reminders that tragedy is inevitable, but that we thrive in spite of it." - Booklist

"Haddon deserves credit for taking chances even if not all of them pay off." - Kirkus

This information about The Pier Falls shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Mark Haddon Author Biography

© Nigel Barklie

Mark Haddon is the author of the international bestseller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. He won the Whitbread Award, Guardian Prize, and a Commonwealth Writers Prize for that work. In addition to The Talking Horse, The Sad Girl, and The Village Under the Sea, a collection of poetry, Haddon has also written and illustrated numerous award-winning children's books and television screenplays. His short story, The Pier Falls, is currently longlisted for the 2015 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the richest prize in the world for a single short story.

He teaches writing for the Arvon foundation and at Oxford University. He lives in Oxford with his wife and son.

Link to Mark Haddon's Website

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