literary journalism

Sarah Hall’s ‘Sudden Traveller’

To enter into a world created by Sarah Hall is to step into a landscape that is feral and alive. Nature — including human nature — is not always benign.

The stories in Sudden Traveller, as with Hall’s previous two collections, prod the polarities between civility and animal instinct. Danger stalks the hinterland, and yet there is freedom to be found in re-wilding. In “Orton”, a woman returns to the site of the most memorable sexual encounter of her youth to switch off the heart implant that is keeping her alive on “borrowed days”.

The opening sentence of the titular story, shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018, takes no prisoners: “You breastfeed the baby in the car, while your father and brother work in the cemetery. They are clearing the drains of leaves and silt, so your mother can be buried.” Here we have it: life, death, debris…

Read the full article online in the Financial Times

You Might Also Like