In the Wild Wood

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by Frances Gapper

To walk In the Wild Wood is to enter worlds where the mundane is made magical. Loss of memory and self are rendered in dreamlike stories that owe as much to the lived experience of dementia as to fairy tale. In other tales, we learn of Sister Joy’s obsession with spiders, or a funeral parlour worker who collects false teeth from the dead. Poignant, funny and astonishing, this collection showcases Frances Gapper as a storyteller working at the peak of her craft.

978-0-9957381-6-4. Cultured Llama. PB. 203×127mm. 212pp. June 2017. Short Stories. £12.00

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Frances Gapper is the author of six books, including three collections of short fiction. She has lived in various UK places, and had quite a few relationships, but at the age of 55 she married and sort of settled down.


These stories emerge from a sensibility singular in its proportion of dreaminess to vigilance, merriment to mordant wit. And then there’s the skilled sentence work, right down to the placement of commas. Frances Gapper seems to write from the very heart of the eerie everyday, and as you read this you’ll be glad you joined her there.

Helen Oyeyemi, author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

These are stories that are the lengths they need to be: they find their forms. The collection has a lovely patchwork effect. In reading this book you can sense a writer flexing all her muscles. She’s unshowily showing us everything she can do, and giving us the real business of storytelling.

Paul Magrs, author of The Ninnies

I lay on my sofa, laughing, enchanted by its tone and the way it lifted me out of the cold English winter… There is no vagueness about this story. The writer tells us what she wants us to see, and we go with her, despite the bizarre nature of her journey. It’s dreamy, but specific. It’s a story inhabited by the dead and the naked, yet it’s not silly.

Julia Darling, on ‘Small Tall’, Mslexia

I very much like Gapper’s precise, startlingly odd short stories.

Ali Smith, selecting The Tiny Key as a book of the year in The Guardian

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