Live Show, Drink Included
Collected Stories – 14 mini novels that will surprise and entertain you
Vicky Grut has taken inspiration from a range of often ordinary situations and shows how easily things can unravel. They veer from the realistic to the surreal, nothing is quite what it seems, and Vicky’s original way of observation is a revelation. These collected stories make you ponder about who is in control of one’s destiny.
The stories form a series of metaphors covering different aspects of life, and the closing story about the ultimate end is very moving.
To give you a flavour of what they are like here are a few snippets:
In Rich, two young people travelling towards Florence just after the Bologna bombing of 1980, decide to cadge a meal and a bed for the night from a girl they barely know. In the early hours of the morning, the atmosphere suddenly changes. They are in over their heads.
In Mistaken, an academic is mistaken for a shop assistant in a big London department store. When she reacts impulsively she finds herself in trouble. Help comes from an unlikely quarter – and for all the wrong reasons.
In Downsizing, Julianne and Tom are all that remain of their company’s department of Policy and Evaluation. Julianne reads management theory and they exchange faintly erotic phone calls while they work on their organisational review, until Julianne has a visionary idea.
In Live Show, Drink Included, two young people on a day-trip to London decide to see a Soho sex-show, obsessed with getting a free drink, they are in for a surprise.
In Into the Valley, a woman tries to comfort her suffering mother-in-law on ward 19 in a small hospital in Wales. Underneath the ward sign it says, in English and in Welsh, ‘Bereavement Office / Swyddfa Profedigaeth.’ There probably isn’t a ward 20.
Many of the stories have been shortlisted for awards and prizes over the years, including the Asham Award (twice) and the Narrative Magazine Contest in America. Six of the stories were included in new writing collections from Serpents’ Tail, Pulp Editions, Duckworths, Granta, Picador and Bloomsbury, and two were published in the States by Harvard Review.
The final story Into the Valley was included in the list of Essays of Note in 2012 at the end of Cheryl Strayed’s edition of Best American Essays, 2013.
Two of her stories will be published in 2018, one in the Mechanics Institute Review 15and one in Harvard Review 52.
In the Current Climate
An Unplanned Event
Live Show, Drink Included
A Minor Disorder
Saucers of Sweets
On the Way to the Church
Into the Valley
Live Show, Drink Included was published in October 2018.
Writers’ Corner: Spread the Word interviews Vicky Grut & Maria Thomas.
The launch was celebrated with a standing room only party in the October Gallery on Thursday 11 October.
For more information or advance review copies please contact the publisher Bernadette Jansen op de Haar: firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0) 77 926 11 929.
Number of pages: 165
‘Some are dark and disturbing tales of lives viewed from under the mad end of a microscope, others are more of a glimpse of lives gone sideways.’ – Alexei Sayle
‘Ordinary people are peculiar too, the poet Louis MacNeice reminds us, and this collection is filled with just such magical peculiarness found under the surfaces of the ordinary and the everyday. Grut does not judge but loves her characters for their oddities and differences, introducing them with a deft tenderness. These delicious, dark, funny and affecting stories – reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor – remind us that life does not come with simple solutions and that often it is in the terrifying messiness that we are the most alive.’ – Tania Hershman, author of Some of Us Glow More Than Others
‘Seemingly straightforward, but actually subtle and often sinister, these stories – full of arresting images that have stayed with me – take an oblique and unexpected look at current issues.’ – Emma Healey, author of Elizabeth is Missing
‘Here comes a bold collection of compelling stories from a prize-winning author. Her locations and landscapes range across work and domestic settings, friendships and marriages erupt in quarrels that are resolved in startling denouements. Vicky Grut casts a sharp eye over the linguistic clichés of office management speak, and her shifting tone varies from playful, witty, and tender; a love story that is affirmed in a tacky London sex club, to a deeply moving tale of loss and shock in the Welsh valleys. Her readers are in for a treat – and a rollercoaster ride of emotions, thrills and surprises.’ – Patricia Duncker, Professor Emeritus, Department of English, American Studies and Creative Writing University of Manchester
‘There is humour amidst the darkness and glimpses of hope within the despair of some characters’ reactions. Vicky Grut’s stories are taut, astute stories that draw readers into their recognisable situations and shock with a sudden but credible tilt in perspective.’ – Emma Lee on her blog
‘Vicky Grut reveals her knack for summoning up characters so real they’ll follow you around your house.
Grut is skilled a winding a whole life into a single line of exposition. In Debts, we meet Wilson – “the sort of person who couldn’t button his shirts in the right order but could tell you about quantum physics if you had a few hours to spare.”
It’s Grut’s sensitivity towards her characters that draws you in. It’s clear that she cares about these people and their struggle to do the right thing and get better at doing that. That compassion is contagious – you can’t help but worry about them too.’ – Judy Darley on SkyLightRain
‘Grut has a beautiful writing style. With simple, well chosen words, she conveys so much, never giving too much away. She is never flowery and often enigmatic.
Read it if you love stories that are thought provoking, clever and surprising. A really great book.’ – Hermione Flavia on CravenWild
‘A collection of rare beauty, insight and empathy. Many of Vicky Grut’s characters find themselves in a no-man’s-land that opens up in the midst of their otherwise ordinary lives.
Wonderful writing, and as glorious an ending as I’ve read in a long time.’ – Tara27 on Amazon
‘Grut populates her collection with people so close to us, so easy to read, it is as if they were the neighbours we’d spent a decade or so apologising to about the noise. Live Show, Drinks Included is not a mirror but rather a window above a kitchen sink where you just might catch a sun-distorted reflection of someone you know.’ – Ashley Bullen-Cutting in Litro
‘Great book. Opened my eyes to the power of short stories. I find her observations of contemporary working life to be eerily spot on.’ – sg1000 on Amazon
‘I have never really understood the attraction of a book of short stories UNTIL NOW! I found myself instantly engaged in each story… enjoying the richness of text and detail… very much pleasantly surprised by the variety and depth of them.’ – H Jones on Amazon
‘A fantastic collection of short stories that I’d recommend to anyone. Some of the stories are funny, some sad and some a little of both, but what they all have in common is the sheer quality of the writing.’ – Tigermum on Amazon
‘The characters and situations are beautifully put together with emotions, memories and intellect reflecting struggles that connect us deeply and presented with compassion and humour. I was sorry to finish this book.’ – Mr RA Simmonds on Amazon