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Book summary and reviews of Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley

Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley

Bad Dreams and Other Stories

by Tessa Hadley

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  • Published:
  • May 2017
    240 pages
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About this book

Book Summary

The award-winning author of The Past once again "crystallizes the atmosphere of ordinary life in prose somehow miraculous and natural" (Washington Post), in a collection of stories that elevate the mundane into the exceptional.

The author of six critically acclaimed novels, Tessa Hadley has proven herself to be the champion of revealing the hidden depths in the deceptively simple. In these short stories it's the ordinary things that turn out to be most extraordinary: the history of a length of fabric or 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, made strange by the darkness; 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: each of these stories illuminate crucial moments of transition, often imperceptible to the protagonists.

A girl accepts a lift in a car with some older boys; a young woman reads the diaries she discovers while housesitting. Small acts have large consequences, some that can reverberate across decades; private fantasies can affect other people, for better and worse. 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 and Other Stories demonstrates yet again that Tessa Hadley "puts on paper a consciousness so visceral, so fully realized, it heightens and expands your own. She is a true master" (Lily King, author of Euphoria).

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Achingly lovely, though never sentimental, Hadley's collection renders common lives with exquisite grace." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. In subtly insightful and observant prose, Hadley writes brilliantly of the words and gestures that pass unnoticed "in the intensity of present" but echo without cease." - Publishers Weekly

"It is impossible to overstate how much I admire the work of Tessa Hadley; her mastery of the smallest gestures on the page is breathtaking and her ability to weave a symphonic whole time after time thrilling. Every story in this collection is beautiful, precise, expansive, and a joy." - Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

This information about Bad Dreams and Other Stories was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. 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 they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream 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

Tessa Hadley Author Biography

Photo: Mark Vessey

Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly acclaimed novels, including Clever Girl and The Past, as well as three short story collections, most recently Bad Dreams and Other Stories, which won the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker; in 2016 she was awarded the Windham Campbell Prize and the Hawthornden Prize. She lives in London.

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