by Ailsa Cox - £9.99 Headland Publications (2009)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781902096575 | ISBN 10: 1902096576
The Real Louise brings together a selection of new and published stories by Ailsa Cox. Some are love stories; others deal with family relationships or characters coming to terms with conflicting identities. All of them are rooted in the modern city and the multiple voices of contemporary experience.
"...Brilliantly detailed, intimate, and often darkly funny. Set in Manchester and Liverpool, they build a sense of the city from its interlocking human lives. Her characters inhabit a kind of fractured time where moments of action spiral into moments of consciousness through memory and anticipation. What results is a compelling tissue of actual experience and virtual connection. She shows us the city as a locus for action, but also as an emotional collective, infinitely complex and finely textured. What is remarkable about her work is the way it explores and invokes the immensity of the everyday."
"Ailsa Cox's stories play upon the way that the sinister lies just hidden from view: a grandmother who may be a killer from the long past, a driving lesson that suggests a whole life unravelling into paranoia. And the painful despair and emptiness coming from the pauses of everyday conversations. Borges-like, these are stories within stories, where the smallest anecdote gives way to another tale behind it - Cox mesmerises you with her deceptively amiable style - and then bites. The miniature made big, frighteningly big: this is what short stories should be."
(Price & availability last checked: October 2018)