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Sweet Home

by Wendy Erskine

These short stories comprise acutely observed portraits of everyday life and survival in modern Belfast. Dealing with loneliness, loss and disengagement from community, Erskine has a sharp ear for dialogue, capturing the dry Irish wit and wry turn of phrase - an arrogant character is summed up as 'a fellow who would put a bob on himself both ways'. She makes the mundane fascinating and all the characters come alive. A wonderful debut collection.

Extract

The other new girl said, what's with the Irish stuff? I'm not telling some fella I'm Irish when I'm not. You'll just be on the phone, the man from Donegal had said. It'll just be the accent. Which for most people, regardless of your own local distinctions, is Irish. But I'm British, she said. I'm from the Loyalist community. Eamonn had looked thoughtful. No, he said. No. That's just too niche. Loyalist psychic readings. Loyalist girls wanting to talk to you now. No, my sweetheart, you are Irish to your fingertips and if you don't like it then that, and he pointed, is the door.

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