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Elsewhere: Stories from Small Town Europe

Published by Comma Press

ISBN: 9781905583133

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What do we mean by small town? How has this innocuous term – one up from ‘village’, a couple down from ‘city’ – come to function as a pejorative? Pressed to describe what the phrase ‘small town’ conjures up, we’d be hard pushed to say anything positive: closed-minded; petty; provincial; parochial. On a broad European canvas, however, the rich traditions of short story writing challenge these preconceptions. The stories collected here are neither narrow-minded nor petty, nor do the minds of their protagonists contract to fit their environment.

In Germany, a house-husband is slowly sent over the edge by his over-achieving neighbours. In the town of Odda in Norway, a middle-aged Morrissey fan has a matter of hours to find a girlfriend so his ailing mother can die in peace. It’s the small gestures – a white lie, the turning of a blind eye, a small kindness or a secret kept – that allow the characters of these communities to survive, to breathe easily within the seemingly tight strictures life there can impose. It’s how we do things round here...

Featuring: Gyrdir Eliasson (Iceland) - Frode Grytten (Norway) - Micheal O Conghaile (Ireland) - Danielle Picard (France) - Mehmet Zaman Saclioglu (Turkey) - Ingo Schulze (Germany) - Roman Simic (Croatia) - Jean Sprackland (England) - Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) - Mirja Unge (Sweden).

Praise for Decapolis: Tales from Ten Cities, the first anthology in this series:

"Europe is heavy with history and the trace left by cataclysm and upheaval. These are present in these tales, and yet coexist with a kind of wry and knowing playfulness."
A.S. Byatt in The Times

"The European short story is clearly in vigorous form."
Matthew Sweet, Nightwaves, Radio 3
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