London Calling and Other Stories

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by Jeremy Page

At the heart of Jeremy Page’s collection of long, short and flash fiction is the eponymous novella, London Calling, a comic tour-de-force set in a 1980s squat. Other stories feature a woman who remains in bed due to ennui, murder in a crime bookshop, and all the small resentments of a marriage condensed into two paragraphs. These are stories for our strange, unsettling times.

978-1-9164128-1-1. Cultured Llama. PB. 203×127mm. 152pp. September 2018. Short Stories. £12.00

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Jeremy Page is the author of several collections of poems and, since 1983, editor of the bi-annual literary journal The Frogmore Papers. He has also written two plays: Loving Psyche and Verrall of the White Hart, which were performed in Bremen (2010) and Lewes (2014) respectively. He lives close to the South Downs in Sussex and is currently Director of the Centre for Language Studies at the University of Sussex.

Richly comic and mischievous, London Calling is a tour de force told at an unflinchingly lively pace. Following the torments of young would-be poet, Eustace Tutt, Jeremy Page has managed to write a novella which is at once funny, tender and unputdownable.

Jane Bailey, Novelist, author of Lark Song

If PG Wodehouse could have time-travelled to a 1980s squat, this is the novella he might have written. It’s impossible to read without a big smile on your face and bursts of loud laughter as Eustace Tutt, wannabe poet, encounters the naked German girls, nascent artist Gaz, drunken literary magazine editor O’Mahony, and drama student Amy, who looks like a young Julie Christie.  This wholly delightful tale transports us to a vividly visualized 1981, and ought to be on prescription as an antidote to 21st century blues.

Maggie Butt, Poet and novelist, author (as Maggie Brookes) of House of Dreams

Not since Paul Pennyfeather was sent down from Oxford has a disgraced student made me laugh so much. Chucked out of university, Eustace Tutt finds himself in a London squat in the early 80s, complete with Berlin nudists, a wannabe artist, and reclusive chemically inclined Rodney. But it’s a chance meeting on his train to the Smoke that will change things for him: Amy Wildsmith, budding actor, ‘not actress’. Eustace has two ambitions: become a published poet and lose his virginity by the age of 21. But with everything so stacked against him, will he make it? A comic evocation of grim times – brilliant!

John O’Donoghue, Poet, journalist and author of Sectioned: A Life Interrupted

In these clever, surprising stories, Page’s delicately delineated fictional characters struggle with marital micro-aggressions, the pathos of loss, and the mythical significance of a can of Special Brew. These are fictions which explore, with admirable poetic compression and superb control of imagery, the nature of reality; seemingly innocuous ‘realistic’ situations rapidly slide into alarming surreality. Language and meaning should be fixed and stable, but aren’t; miscommunication and misunderstanding cause the ground beneath characters’ feet to tilt, often alarmingly, leaving the reader both satisfied and unsettled. These are stories for our strange, unsettling times.

Catherine Smith, Writer, author of The Biting Point


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