Review: Girl, Balancing & Other Stories

Girl, Balancing & Other Stories | Helen Dunmore | CCB Review

Helen Dunmore was a prize-winning, bestselling novelist, poet and children's writer; her short stories were published less often but Girl, Balancing & Other Stories proves she also mastered this genre brilliantly.

In a dazzling variety of settings she demonstrates her skill within the economy of the form, creating vivid and distinctive characters, recognisable as 'ordinary' people, often to give an individual's story within a known historical or contemporary scenario. She is especially adept at creating characters with a sophisticated mix of traits - bravery, humour, loneliness, passion - to evoke the empathy of the reader. And the stories range widely in tone, from sinister to pathos, comic to unsettling, even fantasy; but it is the character's feelings and emotions which really interest Helen Dunmore and how, even in the brief span of a short story, relationships can change fundamentally. The pieces in this collection are written in the same engaging, clear, fluent style which makes her novels such a pleasure to read and demonstrate why Helen Dunmore was a truly remarkable talent.

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