‘”An intriguing and illuminating first collection, chockfull of interesting ideas about the natural world and ourselves.” says Jeff VanderMeer.’
By Marian Womack
Published by Luna Press
Here, Marian shares her thoughts on the incoming collection:
“These stories have been with me a long time, and it is difficult to see them go out into the wider world. They are not entirely mine, I guess. Orange Dogs, Love(Ghost)Story and Frozen Planet were workshopped in Clarion; Black Isle or The Ravisher, The Thief, grew in meaning under the attentive gaze of skilful editors. Some are found-poems in prose, like Marvels do not oftimes occur, which is based on real events and reproduces, as respectfully as possible, the actual impressions of those who lived through them. Kingfisher is the most personal story I have ever written; and it refers to a particular set of anxieties many of us share. I’d like to thank the Luna Press team for the final editorial magic-dust that has smoothed off the last spiky places. Any fault in the book is entirely mine; they have been nothing but patient and caring with the project.
So, these stories owe a lot to many different people. As I said in the acknowledgements, a writer is in no way an island. But still, they talk deeply about my experience of always being perceived, or looked at, from the wayside. The stories talk about landscape, about place, but all of them looked at askance, from the wrong angle. This feeling has been a constant one for me, as a woman abroad, and has only accentuated itself over the years: ever more, perhaps, since the Brexit vote. Many of us live with a heightened sense of standing apart. It is always difficult being yourself in another language, in another place. External assumptions weigh heavily on your sense of self, and are almost unshakable. I am not interested in setting all my stories in my native Andalusia, a place in any case also deeply foreign to me now. I think many of us feel that way now, as if we are looking at life from the outside. We are a displaced generation, a generation of loss and absences, trying desperately to hang on to ever-fewer certainties.
This is a collection of short stories written over a number of years, which also indicates my developing interest in man’s impact on the environment, and what a possible future might look like, what our landscape, our sense of place, may transform itself into, sometimes with monstrous results. But if they look at the world from a particular place of loss and displacement, they observe the future with a certain degree of suspicion. I hope I have managed to convey the profound sense of sadness and bewilderment with which many of us look upon our actions, on the world we will leave for those who come after us.”
‘There is only one way to enjoy the west and the islands during the summer, and that’s by boat.’