Your Father Sends His Love is a collection of twelve stories that together create a reflective and melancholic whole. I felt I knew the characters, felt I shared something with them and though the picture is at times amusing, there is an underlying bleakness that entices and appeals to me enormously. The stories are clear, precise and often unrelenting.
Though it is always difficult to decide upon favourites in story collections, especially as I liked all of the twelve and felt Evers moved easily between genders and ages, ‘Something Else to Say’ is the story that stays with me the most. The narrator is waiting to meet his best friend in a pub and endlessly runs through a list of what things, what facts he has to offer as conversation. As the story progresses, we learn what lies beneath their need to stick to safe, distant fact. It is a beautifully eloquent and moving story that highlights something Stuart Evers is particularly good at exposing, the absences and failures of our attempts at communication, communication with others and communication with ourselves.
Perhaps this is something the short story form lends itself to – it finds images and moments to represent lifetimes of striving for communion – nevertheless, Your Father Sends His Love is a particularly pointed collection of stories that questions our need to bridge the gap between self and other. Out in May, I can’t recommend it enough.
Next week I’m reading The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck.