Title: Stay up with Me
Author: Tom Barbash
Tags: #Folioprize #shortstories #NYC
Discovered: Shortlist for the Folio Prize
Where read: (In part) Marylebone train station
The Word's Shortlist view:
Tom Barbash's new collection of stories is a brilliant way to get into the short story genre. Through 13 different character driven tales Barbash manages to capture myriad human emotions that leave you both humoured and touched at the same time.
Through the eyes of 13 different protagonists the chances are you'll come face to face with someone you know, if not possibly with yourself. From the mother interfering in her son's love life to the hit-and-run driver facing her victim or the husband papering over the groaning cracks of separation these stories are raw and incredibly visceral.
The great thing about short stories is that, though you might not connect with each and every one of the characters, there's a good chance that within the collection there is a plot, character or scenario that feels startlingly real. Perhaps this is what short stories are really about? Our lives are lived like a series of short stories rather than one epic and sweeping novel after all.
So what's the collection all about? My monies on the simple idea that Tom Barbash wanted to present a simple slice of life. Less self-consciously zeitgeisty and more domestic reality - as borne out in the cover of the UK edition. How many short stories are being played out by your neighbours right now?
Read this work from a brilliant storyteller and enjoy a provocative insight into the lives around you.
Watch Tom Barbash discuss the novel here: http://youtu.be/lLetkHPGUJI