A. L. Kennedy’s latest collection of stories is an investigation of “certain types of threat and the odder edges of sweet things”—another intense and luscious feast of language from the author of The Blue Book
. “I want to describe my genuine circumstances on the occasion in question, but I can’t,” confesses the narrator of “Baby Blue,” who finds herself “somewhere like a very big grocers . . . a supermarket full of sex.” Kennedy hilariously explores the comic possibilities of fake genitalia before landing on a heartbreaking note.
In “Takes You Home,” a man tries to sell his apartment, the emptiness of the rooms. It’s a journey to the interior that is both harrowing and humorous, as he considers the benefit of showing off the old kitchen rather than renovating—it “only quietly asks to be replaced and will shrug when it’s knocked to pieces and hauled away and not take it personally one bit.” Swarming with memory and moments of grace, All the Rage is Kennedy at her inimitable best.
A dozen sharp new stories by one of contemporary fiction's acknowledged masters