Hitting Trees with Sticks
Book type: Short Story Collection
Published: 31 Oct 2012
Longlisted for the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize.
Shortlisted for the 2013 Edge Hill Short Story Prize.
A young textile designer quits Britain to work for a Nigerian women’s refuge, confident that this is her one chance to make a difference…
A sixteen-year-old uses his first job, as a window-cleaner, to peer into other people’s lives and carefully plan his own…
A leading scientist spends an evening trying to explain his latest theory to a man who could destroy him...
The characters in Jane Rogers’ first short story collection are each blessed with an unwavering conviction. Buoyed up on self-belief, they enthuse, take calculated risks, and refuse to be deterred by the odds stacked against them. But just as Rogers’ compassion as a writer endears us to their cause, her keen eye shows how fine the balance can be between conviction and self-delusion. At times, her subject seems to be the fallibility of any point of view, the persistence of blind spots no matter how careful or intelligent the viewer. Hers are not unreliable narrators, merely human ones – diverse, contradictory, imperfect. Indeed it is often their flaws that beguile us.
‘There is nothing predictable about a Jane Rogers story. She has the confidence and skill to inhabit many different voices and different worlds. She slides the reader, in imagination, to a snow-bound France, to Africa, to the Caribbean: she takes us into offices and libraries, under the sea and into the forest, and also into the vast untrodden country of memory that we carry around inside. Her observation of our species is tender, precise, illuminating.’ – Hilary Mantel
'Thrilling, ambitious stories that cross continents and soar from cells to stars.' – Maggie Gee
‘Warm, wise, insightful, sharply observed and beautifully written – each story is a world in microcosm.’ – Marina Lewycka
'A fitting nod to the glory of fiction.' - The Guardian
'A set of cliche-free stories that rarely end up where you'd expect.' - The Independent
'Rogers displays a knack for drawing on life's subtle and uncanny parallels.' - TLS
'Enjoyable to the point of addiction.' - Mslexia
'I enjoyed basking in the warm light of these beautiful stories.' - The Short Review
'A fascinating collection of stories.' - For Books' Sake
'A fabulous collection that deserves to be widely read.' - Bookmunch
'Sad and funny, tender and desolate all at once, Hitting Trees with Sticks is filled with surprises and damaged but endearing characters; it is an excellent collection, perhaps best appreciated when savoured little by little, leaving time for every story to fully settle in the reader’s mind.' - Shortly Speaking