Author(s): Philip Hensher
She would tear the house down - shatter the windows, slash the furniture, flood the baths, fire the curtains!' Hilarious, exuberant, surreal, subtle, tender, brutal, spectacular and above all unexpected- this extraordinary selection celebrates the British short story from the 1920s to the present day. From Angela Carter to V. S. Pritchett, Elizabeth Taylor to J. G. Ballard, Ali Smith to a host of little-known works from magazines and periodicals, and including tales of air-raids, phone sex, snobbery, modern-day slavery, grief, desire, the familiar and the strange, here is the short story in all its limitless possibilities. Edited with an introduction by Philip Hensher
Hensher's anthology is bigger, better and broader in several senses than anything else currently available The Spectator Almost 100 potent doses of the form which editor Philip Hensher claims very plausibly to be "the richest, most varied and most historically extensive national tradition anywhere in the world"... Hensher has spent a couple of years searching libraries and magazine archives and comes out staggering under a weight of treasures -- Claire Harman Evening Standard Like one of the legion of cantankerous, eccentric hosts we meet across this generous terrain, Hensher knows how to lay a grand spread...so enjoy the feast -- Boyd Tonkin The Independent Anyone reading this collection just for pleasure should start at the end of the second volume and work backwards...it would quickly bring you to four outstanding stories by women...each of these, though quickly over, leaves a lasting mark in the mind -- John Carey The Sunday Times Big and clever...three cheers then, for this chunky two-volume anthology, edited by Philip Hensher with imagination and a dash of mischievous wit -- Robert Douglas-Fairhurst The Times Made me shiver with pleasure -- Michele Roberts The Financial Times Charted a very personal view of the form's development from the early 18th century to the present day' -- Tim Martin Telegraph It's been a big year for anthologies and few come bigger than The Penguin Book of the British Short Story. Philip Hensher's introduction is spiky and thought-provoking and Volume I: From Daniel Defoe to John Buchan and Volume II: From P.G. Wodehouse to Zadie Smith (Penguin Classic, GBP25 each) offer readers the chance to enjoy the varieties and mutations of British stories across four centuries. -- Max Liu Independent In two handsomely designed volumes ... you have to admire Hensher's championing of unfamiliar names alongside established greats -- Neville Hawcock FT
Philip Hensher is a novelist, critic, librettist and short story writer. The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novel is The Emperor Waltz.