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Pumping Up Napoleon

Authors: Maria Donovan

Published by Seren

ISBN: 9781854114419

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Pumping Up Napoleon is an assured collection of fifteen short stories with an offbeat take on human relationships, and the relationship of the rather unreliable human body to mind and spirit. 'Offbeat' includes dog massage, cloning your own four-foot son for organ transplants, and a university lecturer's romance with a resurrected Napoleon Bonaparte.

Maria Donovan takes us on a bizarre, funny and often touching tour of death and laughter, love and space travel. Her light, humorous touch allows darker strands to surface repeatedly – dislocated, lonely lives, out of sync with their surroundings are set alongside human oddity and tenderness. These understated, well-crafted stories constantly surprise and engage, producing a fine, enjoyable and thought-provoking first collection.

"These stories are remarkable, and engrossing: sometimes funny, sometimes sinister, always accomplished. Some will be classics."
Fay Weldon

"Maria Donovan's beautifully poised stories exploit the friction between the ordinary and the truly bizarre. The reader laughs, and shivers, and finishes many with a lump in the throat."
Emma Darwin

"This compelling, at times laugh-out-loud, at times disturbing, tale ['Pumping Up Napoleon'] seemed to me to have the seeds of something larger in it. The ending… is handled with poignancy and aplomb."
Carol Ann Duffy

"Maria Donovan has written a brilliant collection of short stories, whose dark humour reminded me of Roald Dahl at his best. She has deservedly been selected to be read on BBC Radio 4. her well-crafted stories show a mastery of the writer's art, they engage the reader, surprise him and best of all provoke though – these are parables for the human condition."
The London Miscellany

"Maria Donovan's short stories share a light playful quality... Donovan's miniature dramas resonate with lively wit, and quite literally, open (often bizarre) new worlds."
New Welsh Review

Originally from west Dorset, author Maria Donovan is a former nurse, gardener and magician's assistant who lived in Holland for ten years before coming home (by moped) to concentrate on her writing. She lived in Cardiff while studying at the University of Glamorgan (Pontypridd) where she gained an honours degree in English Studies and an MPhil in Writing. She now lives on a smallholding in West Wales.
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