Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wish I was Here by Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is one of my favourite Scottish authors (though she now lives in Manchester, England). She is a very talented poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright.

Wish I Were Here is her second collection of short stories. These are mostly short stories about people and their relationships. In The Mirrored Twins a gay couple climb a difficult mountain (to see the Mirrored Twins rock formation) and get caught in bad weather and consequently test their relationship to its limits, in Sonata a mysterious woman tells a stranger in a train all about her complicated love affair, in Not the Queen, a woman who looks identical to the Queen struggles with her identity.

These stories are written with an easy going style, often with great humour and always with a very observant eye for detail. You Go When You Can No Longer Stay, a story about a lesbian couple splitting up, starts 'It is not so much that we are splitting up that is really worrying me, it is the fact that she keeps quoting Martin Amis.'

My favourite story though is My Daughter the Fox, in which the narrator explores her feelings for her daughter who really is a fox:

We had a night of it, my daughter and I, with the foxes screaming outside. I had to stroke her fur and hold her close all night. She snuggled up, her wet nose against my neck.

These stories are all worth reading for their insights into human relationships.

Wish I Was Here by Jackie Kay, published by Picador

For the
LGBT Reading Challenge


Silvia_reads said...

Thanks for sharing this. I was so mistaken: I thought Jackie Kay wrote poems only. Shame on me! To make amends, I will go and add immediately this collection to my wish list!

Anonymous said...

I think this is the Jackie Kay book I'm waiting for Amazon to track down for me. I was lucky enough to hear her speak a few months ago and it was the public reading of a segment of one her short stories (wish I could remember which one) that prompted me to buy the book. As you said at the end of your review, she's got a knack for looking into human relationships, but she does it in such a quirky manner you don't always recognise it for what it is.

I'll look forward to receiving the book now!