Sarah Hall talks of new book Beautiful Indifference at 2012 Edinburgh International Book Festival
Hall traverses bleak territory with cultured finesse in new short story collection
This article is from 2012.
The Scottish writer Douglas Dunn once gave Sarah Hall a crucial piece of advice while she studied Creative Writing under him at St Andrews: ‘Sarah, why don’t you try writing in sentences?’ Dunn must be very proud of her now given the quality of sentences she has produced over the course of four novels and a new book of short stories.
Among those long fictions are the Booker shortlisted The Electric Michelangelo and The Carhullan Army which earned a spot in The Times’ 100 Best Books of the Decade list. But Hall will we swinging by Edinburgh to chat about the contents of her short story collection from last year, The Beautiful Indifference, which evoked comparisons with Alice Munro and Raymond Carver.
Across seven stories with titles such as ‘Butcher’s Perfume’, ‘She Murdered Mortal He’ and ‘Bees’, Hall traverses some fairly bleak territory featuring sexual power games and an ill-fated holiday in a war-torn nation while inserting a recurring theme of mistreated animals and humans indulging in beastly behaviour. But all the while, those all-important sentences are crafted with a cultured finesse, proving that Sarah Hall has taken Dunn’s advice seriously and lifted it to greatly impressive heights.
10-13 Aug (with Tessa Hadley), 10.15am, £10 (£8).