Shortlisted for the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize
A reclusive cult-rock icon ends his days in the street where he was born; a lonely woman is fascinated by her niqab-wearing neighbours; a husband and wife become enmeshed in the lives of the young couple they pay to do their cleaning and gardening. Set in contemporary East Belfast, these acutely observed short stories come charged with regret and sorrow, desire and yearning. With clear-eyed compassion and wry humour, Wendy Erskine deftly lays bare her characters’ struggle to maintain control in an often cruel world, where tragic events cast long shadows. Sweet Home heralds the arrival of a wonderfully compelling and truly distinctive new voice.
‘With skill and style, Erskine unpicks the underlying complexity of ordinary lives, the unexpected intricacy of ordinary situations. These are stories about ramification as opposed to redemption; dark, bittersweet and perfectly formed.’
‘These wonderful stories of people and place are deceptively smooth, stealthily complicated. Each one’s a sweet but stiff cocktail. They go down easy, but soon your head starts to pitch and you realise you’ve been hit with a wallop.’
Wendy Erskine lives in Belfast. Her work has been published in The Stinging Fly, Stinging Fly Stories and Female Lines: New Writing by Women from Northern Ireland (New Island Books) and is forthcoming in Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (Faber and Faber), Winter Papers and on BBC Radio 4. Sweet Home is her first collection.