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Under the Dam

Published by Comma Press

ISBN: 9780954828011

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Winner of the BBC National Short Story Prize 2010.

"Flawless and unsettling."
Boyd Tonkin, Books of the Year 2005, The Independent

"I reviewed David Constantine's wonderful stories, Under the Dam (Comma Press), for The Guardian, and am still thinking about the quality of the writing."
A.S. Byatt, Books of the Year, The Guardian

In the middle of a speech a businessman realises his soul has just left his body. In an Athens marketplace, a jealous lover finds himself staggering through a vision of hell. High in the Alps, a young woman’s body re-appears in the glacier, perfectly preserved, where she fell 50 years before.

Entering Constantine’s stories is like stepping out into a wind of words, a swarm of language. His prose is as fluid as the water that surges and swells through all his landscapes. Yet, against this fluidity, his stories are able to stop time, to freeze-frame each protagonist’s life just at the moment when the past breaks the surface, or when the present - like the dam of the title - collapses under its own weight.

"A superb collection."
Nicholas Royle, The Independent

"This is a haunting collection filled with delicate clarity. Constantine has a sure grasp of the fear and fragility within his characters."
A.L. Kennedy

"Constantine is writing for his life. Every sentence and paragraph is shaped, tense with meaning and unobtrusively beautiful, his images of the natural world burning their way into the reader’s mind..."
The Sunday Times

"Absorbing, incantatory poetic rhythms and startlingly lucid images... admirable control and precision."

David Constantine is an award-winning poet and translator. His volumes of poetry include Madder, Watching for Dolphins, The Pelt of Wasps, Something for the Ghosts and the epic poem Casper Hauser. He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Enzensberger, Michaux and Joccottet. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize and in the same year won the Corneliu M Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation. In 2004 his poem ‘Trilobite in Wenlock Shales’ was shortlisted for Best Individual Poem in the Forward Prize. Under the Dam is his first full collection of short stories.
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