Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction

Fifteen Modern Tales_copy

Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (Penguin) was one of the ‘Top Ten Books to Talk About in 2009’ in association with the Guardian and World Book Day.

‘Alison MacLeod’s collection of stories is a baker’s dozen of excellence book-ended by brilliance. .. An eruption of ideas and linguistic flair that corrals the uncontainable and unpoliceable vagaries of human desire, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction is a potent and heady mix. Avoiding the perils of both overt  erudition and sentimental whimsy the whole is ably piloted by MacLeod’s total and impressive control of her material. Highly recommended.’   TIME OUT (London and Sydney)

‘There’s a giddying range of things to think about in MacLeod’s collection of short stories, which range from gleeful comedy to aching tragedy. Desire in its many, sometimes disturbing, sometimes comic, forms fizzes through all of these stories, from a man who goes chasing after a pregnant woman in the midst of a riot at Ikea, to ECT patient Gloria who thrills to the presence of her anaesthetist, “Dr Numb” and a 19-year-old girl who finds herself erotically drawn to a man on his deathbed. There’s also a 21st century version of the harrowing tale of Heloise and Abelard retold through email exchanges.  The collection is as formally inventive as it is original in its subject matter…’   THE GUARDIAN (2009)

‘MacLeod’s fictions are modern indeed. They are fragmentary evocations of desire and its mysteries, passing glimpses into minds and hearts… [Her] characters are strong, and they are worth listening to’   THE GUARDIAN (Sept. 2007)

Of story ‘Dirty Weekend’: ’Beautiful and finely wrought… almost unbearably moving’   PROFESSOR TERRY EAGLETON

‘MacLeod’s strike rate is uniformly high. The opening story, “so that the land was darkened”, can stand for her strengths. Quietly, obliquely, MacLeod conveys more about the randomness of urban living and the ruptures caused by terrorism than most issue-centered stories, or indeed novels, ever could.’  THE MONTREAL GAZETTE

‘Beautifully crafted, they range from brilliantly observed humour – customers stampeding in Ikea at the store’s launch in Notes for a Chaotic Century – to the haunting and heart-rending – the tender elegy to a middle-aged love affair in Dirty Weekend. Immensely readable.’   THE BIG ISSUE

  ‘Alison MacLeod is a strikingly original voice. Her stories create intimate worlds… and make the reader live in them with an intensity which is haunting, disturbing and above all beguiling.’  HELEN DUNMORE

‘Her observations are brilliant… she continually makes the ordinary shocking and the shocking marvellous and inevitable…These stories make compelling, humbling reading.’  SUE ROE

 ‘I’ve long been a fan of Alison MacLeod’s lyrical, funny and poignant writing, and her new collection of short stories Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction doesn’t disappoint.  MacLeod is a master at nuance with a wry sense of humour that’s often tinged with the faintest tinge of darkness.  A delightful and disturbing commentator on the human condition.’  NEW BOOKS MAGAZINE

‘Her stories are about attraction turned upside down: a young woman who falls for an unconscious hospital patient precisely because of his immobility, a couple divided by the London bombings of 2005, and a young girl whose tongue gets her into all kinds of trouble. These are nimble, magical stories.’   SUNDAY BUSINESS POST

‘MacLeod’s range – spanning the movingly real to the mysteriously surreal – is excitingly, imaginatively realised and unified by an awareness of the dark menace of love’s uncertainty.’  METRO  (London)

‘…it is great that Alison MacLeod is so unafraid of pushing what a story can be, what shape it can take, what things it can say… Taken together, the tales are consistently provocative and intelligent.’   PULP.NET

‘…not conventional love stories, they are a modern and enjoyable take on how love finds us and leaves us’   SUNDAY EXPRESS

‘…beautiful, understated and touching love stories, which capture the attention at once and keep it until the last page. They are tales of intimacy and often of loss, gracefully and powerfully told…’   THE TABLET

‘Alison MacLeod is an adventurous storyteller… Seductively absorbing, [these stories] lurch and twist from moments of tenderness and innocence to the dark and hauntingly disturbing… Relationships do not always blossom and MacLeod’s realisation of this makes her stories unbearably poignant and bittersweet.’   BRIGHTON ARGUS