FEN by Daisy Johnson

‘When we were young we learnt men the way other people learnt languages or the violin…We did not care for their thoughts; they could think on philosophy and literature and science if they wanted, they could grow opinions inside them if they wanted. We did not care for their creed or religion or type; for the choices they made and the ones they missed. We cared only for what they wanted so much it ruined them. Men could pretend they were otherwise, could enact the illusion of self-control, but we knew the running stress of their minds.’
– Blood Rites
Every so often a book comes along that not only interrupts the world for you, but seeps into it. The people you meet, the places you go, ignite with new possibilities, with different ways of seeing. The Border Trilogy did it, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow did it, MaddAddam did it. This book did it. These short stories hold the world captive and make you take another look. They are bleak, beautiful, witty and strange. The writing style calls to mind Sarah HallKelly Link, and Evie Wyld – the latter’s glowing endorsement is on the back – but mesh into a wholly unique voice and a mesmerising study of people and landscape. Just brilliant.
These two stories are from Daisy Johnson‘s full collection of short stories, out in June.
Full disclosure: The author and I are housemates, having met on a Creative Writing course. Further full disclosure: The reason I wanted to be friends in the first place was because I fell in love with her writing.