Friday, 4 August 2017

The Pier Falls by Mark Haddon

It's rare for me not to be able to predict the ending of a short story or indeed even what is going to happen next. The collection of stories delighted me because every single one took me by surprise.

'Wodwo' starts off like a rerun of Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings where a family come together to celebrate Christmas and the cracks begin to show. Except Mark Haddon's story turns even more sinister than Ayckbourn's very quickly. 'Bunny' might set out to be a salvation story. We are kept waiting for the overweight title character to be saved. 'The Woodpecker and the Wolf' goes through some bad phases but the ending is surprising. 

All of the stories are on the dark side.  The title story tells of a disastrous accident. 'The Gun' will surely end badly. 'The Boys Who Left Home to Learn Fear' leaves us with the opposite of hope. 'The Weir' brings two struggling characters together. Perhaps it is very appropriate that this is the final story in the collection. We are left with a little hope this time.     

Haddon gives each story a unique and convincing in voice. If you've read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time you'll know that control of style is one of his fortes. You won't be disappointed here.
The book was a gift from a friend. This edition is hard back and has a delightful cover. It was easy to hold which is not always the case with thick hardback books. Just think of some of the later Harry Potters. It also has a handy bookmark ribbon. It includes Haddon's sketches. The font, its size and line- spacing are all just right. This all makes it a delightful book to own.