A new book of stories from Bernard MacLaverty is a cause for celebration, but Matters of Life and Death is more than that, as it is without question the finest collection yet from a contemporary master of the form. eginning with the sudden, nauseating terror of a family caught up in an explosion of shocking sectarian violence and ending with the white-out of an Iowa blizzard and a different kind of fear- the fear of displacement, erasure, of losing your way and yourself very far from home, Matters of Life and Death is a book about bonds and connections, made and broken, secret and known. In the extraordinary long story, Up the Coast , a landscape painter discovers a place that makes her feel whole, finally, only to have that communion cruelly shattered by an arbitrary act of aggression an act that will resonate through her work and her life from that moment on. ivid, beautifully controlled and written with effortless skill and empathy, these stories are object lessons in the art of short fiction- the author s perfect eye and ear attending to every detail, every nuance of idiom and character, to remake the world for us, here on the page.
Bernard MacLaverty lives in Glasgow. He has written four collections of stories and four novels, including Grace Notes which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. He has written versions of his fiction for other media - radio plays, television plays, screenplays - and wrote and directed the short film Bye Child which recently won a BAFTA award.