Tree-climbing students, volunteering soldiers, island-bound recluses...
The characters in David Constantine’s remarkable new collection are united by an urge to absent themselves, to abscond from the intolerable pressures of normal life and withdraw into strange ideas, political causes, even private languages. Viewed from without, they appear sometimes absurd – like the vicar who starts conversing with the Devil when his wife leaves him – sometimes tragic – like the vision of a suicide being fished out of the River Irwell. Such is the force of Constantine’s compassion, however, we cannot help but follow each character deep into their isolation. And the further we descend, through the strata of each personal history, the ever-changing landscapes that bear down upon them, the more remarkable the discovery, at very bottom, that glimmers of redemption abide; like the babbling springs uncovered in the scars of a quarry that will one day heal it with a lake, or the secret haven of the title story, offering more than physical refuge, but a safe-house for dreams.
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- 1 Jun 2009
About the Author
More by David Constantine
The characters in David Constantine’s fourth collection are often delicately caught in moments of defiance. Constantine’s bewitching, finely-wrought stories give us permission to escape.
Entering Constantine’s stories is like stepping out into a wind of words, a swarm of language. His prose is as fluid as the water that surges and swells through all his landscapes.