Looking Out Of Broken Windows by Dan Powell
Salt Publishing (paperback), 2014
BLURB FROM THE COVER
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2013 SCOTT PRIZE
The characters in this Scott Prize shortlisted debut collection are all a little broken. Haunted by the past, trapped in the present, and frightened of the future, the world they look out on seems a dark and treacherous place. But there remains, for each of them perhaps, a glimmer of hope.
A daughter returns home to find cracks in more than just her parents’ marriage. A middle-aged man plots to escape the clutches of his controlling mother. A woman, numbed by grief and desperately clinging to old routines, struggles to make sense of her sudden, terrible loss. A terminally ill man fights to survive long enough to let go. The staff and customers of The Teacup cafe witness a meteorological miracle that will change their lives.
Daring, intense and poignant, Looking Out of Broken Windows maps an emotional terrain both expansive and intimate and includes stories which were awarded The Yeovil Prize for Fiction and the 2013 Carve Esoteric Award, and shortlisted for both the Salt Short Story Award and The Winchester Writers Conference Short Story Prize.
Mum called to say Dad was having a baby with someone else. He’d come home from work that night, told her what he’d been up to and packed his bags. Glad of the excuse to get out of Manchester, I jumped on the last train home. I arrived a little after midnight to find all the windows dark. My door key turned in the lock, but the door wouldn’t open. I shoved it with my palm, then my shoulder, but still it wouldn’t budge. I thumped hard on the door, imagining
Mum’s body sprawled on the other side.
LOOKING OUT OF BROKEN WINDOWS
I thought Looking out of Broken Windows was a fantastic collection of stories. Powell writes about a diverse array of subjects, characters and situations. Unusually for a collection, I didn’t find any stories that were similar. Every story was different and unique in its own way. Some stories in Looking out of Broken Windows were funny, some were sad, some were tragic and others were touching in a thousand little different ways. I thought every story in Looking out of Broken Windows was great. I laughed and cried, over and over. The title story is a gem. I’ve never laughed so much at a story before. Half mown lawn was an incredibly sad, moving story. A real heart-tugger. The Bus Shelter is another story that made me want to cry. This time Powell deals with old age and senility in such a touching way I found it heart-breaking. My gran has been dead for thirteen years and she had Alzheimer’s disease for a long time. The old man in The Bus Shelter reminded me of her a little and I wanted to hug him and make him a cup of tea. I thought Demand Feeding was brilliant and very original. I thought disintegrating marriage was quite disturbing. Most collections of stories have one or two clunkers. Looking out of Broken Windows is the exception. Every story in this collection added to the strength of the collection as a whole. I loved Looking out of Broken Windows and look forward to reading more of Powell’s work.