Welcome to motherhood – a land of aching fatigue, constant self-sacrifice and thankless servitude, a land of bottomless devotion, small hands and feet like warm pink roses, and velvet kisses. Here is a land where men and women, once carefree and engrossed in work and sex, now try to solve age-old arguments and search fruitlessly for another hour in the day. Perhaps you know this land well, or perhaps you’re entering it for the first time – either way, you need these honest, sharply funny, humane stories from an expert guide.
Selected from Helen Simpson’s short story collections Dear George, Hey Yeah Right Get a Life and Constitutional
VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.
A series of short books by the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human
Also in the Vintage Minis series:
Language by Xiaolu Guo
Fatherhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Eating by Nigella Lawson
Drinking by John Cheever
Cockfosters is a funny, frank and forceful story collection dealing with ageing, ambition and the patterns of repetition and renewal found in long friendships and marriages. It opens irresistible new windows onto the world from Arizona to Dubai and from Moscow to Berlin. Turning both a panoramic and a zoom lens on the way we live now, these stories range through hitch-hiking in Bohemian forest-land to cresting the waves of the Aegean to the mending of hearts and the recovery of lost property at the end of the Piccadilly Line.
Helen Simpson writes with great warmth, wit and candour about the complexities of modern life, and this new collection shows why she is hailed as one of the best short story writers at work in the world today.
In her third collection of short stories, Helen Simpson continues to explore ideas of independence, solitude, marriage, sex and babies with her characteristic blend of comedy and lyricism. Here are tales of young love - successful or thwarted, intense or comic.
From a wedding day for one, through the knotty problems of babies, their conception, arrival and impact on adult lives, to a Lothario receiving his just deserts, and the title story, where a schoolgirl's erotic daydreams during Shakespeare homework produce eventual blushes of horror.
Poignant, funny and perceptive, Helen Simpson's fifth collection of short stories deals with the full stretch, from birth to death and everything in between. A young woman's diary records a blackly farcical escape attempt involving flamenco, murder and wild picnics; two students fall in love then almost talk themselves out of it in an argument about the end of the world; a heartfelt anti-cancer spell is cast in the desire to protect a friend.
Moving effortlessly between tragedy and comedy, from the politics of wanderlust to domestic extremism, this is an intoxicating collection from a master of the genre.
Charting tantrums, funerals, pregnancy, war and love affairs, these stories unroll with piercing wit and sympathy. One woman finds grief for her lost lover is assuaged by involvement in some carpentry repair work. Another grows increasingly angry as the grim reaper scythes through her circle, with farcical and tragic results.
Elsewhere, a foreign correspondent receives an unwanted ultimatum, a south London builder avenges the duping of his adored mother, and a chlorinated changing-room encounter brings about a much-needed break with the past. And in the title story, a circular walk on Hampstead Heath leads to revelations involving feats of memory, a Shakespearian heroine, crossword clues, nonagenarians, and new life.
Brilliant, funny and tragic, Four Bare Legs in a Bed is an outstanding and invigorating collection of short stories. In Simpson's uniquely imaginative and sensuous voice, we hear of the mixed blessings of independence and marriage, of sex and babies.
By the winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, the Hawthornden Prize and the E.M.Forster Award.
Helen Simpson's sixth short-story collection, Cockfosters, follows Four Bare Legs in a Bed (1990), Dear George (1995), Hey Yeah Right Get a Life (2000), Constitutional (2005) and In-Flight Entertainment (2010). A Bunch of Fives: Selected Stories (2012) includes five stories from each of her first five collections. She has received the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Hawthornden Prize and the E.M.Forster Award. She lives in London.