The Sunlight on the Garden

Francis King

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05 December 2013
184 pages

Francis King’s range, both geographical and emotional, was always as remarkable in his short stories as in his novels.

In this collection, there are stories that are poignantly valedictory, like the title one, with its unflinching examination of the relationships between a tough, self-willed elderly man and the young woman determined to exploit him. There are three chilling stories of the supernatural, ‘Now You See It’, set in Egypt, ‘The Pushchair’, set in Brighton, and ‘The Sitting Tenant’, set in contemporary London. In ‘Dreams’, an old man recollects an event—the most important of his whole life, he now realises—that took place during a school holiday in Belgium during the immediate prelude to World War Two. ‘Everyone is Nobody’ is a devastating study of bereavement. Without exception, all the stories show King’s characteristic combination of subtlety and force of emotion.

‘His voice is utterly convincing’ Beryl Bainbridge, Daily Telegraph