978-1-84119-049-5 / 9781841190495

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About the book:

The title is a quaint one; but this collection belongs to a series of Mammoth anthologies and, like its sister-books, its strengths lie in its size and scope. Acclaimed lesbian novelist Emma Donoghue has brought together 29 "lesbian-themed" short stories by a variety of international writers including Anna Livia, Tanith Lee, Jane Rule and Shay Youngblood, with settings that range from the contemporary urban, to the historical, the dream-like and the mythic.

Donoghue's selections favour suggestion and circumspection. Apart from Jenifer Levin's lyrical celebration of butch-femme dynamics, "La Bruja", there is little explicit eroticism here. But there is realism, romance, memory and speculation, a capturing of the wistfulness of lost opportunities, and the knowingness of opportunities seized and fulfilled.

The collection has a deliberately contemporary feel, with an emphasis on works from the 1990s. It is these more recent texts, indeed, which--alongside classics such as Dorothy Allison's powerful evocation of a traumatic Southern childhood, "River of Names", and Rebecca Brown's ambiguous meditation on obsession and betrayal, "The Dark House"--emerge as most memorable. Work by Ali Smith, Jane Harris, Shani Mootoo and other new writers demonstrates the verve and confidence of modern lesbian writing, its sense--in Smith's words--of being "there, free in the middle of it, high on its air and laughing".--Sarah Waters

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