Books Magazine

What Becomes

By Pamelascott

Always attuned to the moment of epiphany, these twelve stories are profound, intimate observations of men and women whose lives ache with possibility - each story a dramatisation of the instant in a life that exposes it all: love and the lack of love, hope and the lack of hope.

These men and women are perfectly ordinary people - whose marriages founder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger. They conceal tenderness and disappointment, vulnerability and longing, griefs and wonders - and, with each of them, Kennedy finds and opens up that extraordinary emotional wound, that insight into their experiences: like the woman in 'Saturday Teatime' who tries to relax in a flotation tank, before her memories hijack her, taking her back to last weekend's party - to a boy with a hamster, and his lecherous father - and then further back to another Saturday, when she was nine years old, when the troubling of her life began.

A.L. Kennedy's fifth remarkable collection of short stories shows us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. She reveals the sadness, violence, hurt and terror, but also the redemption of love - and she does so with the enormous human compassion, wild leaps of humour, and the brilliantly original linguistic skill that distinguishes her as one of Britain's finest writers.


[THE CINEMA was tiny: twelve rows deep from the blacked-out wall and the shadowed doorway down to the empty screen, which had started to bother him now, a kind of hanging absence - WHAT BECOMES]


(Vintage Digital, 6 October 2009, borrowed from my library)



I'm a fan of A.L Kennedy. I've really enjoyed some of her work. I wasn't impressed with Day but still, she's on my list of authors' I'd happily read.

But this story collection didn't work for me. Sorry.

Some stories are okay, some are quite good but others just didn't connect.

I enjoyed What Becomes, Marriage and Story of My Life. The others made me feel indifference. I didn't feel a connection to the characters or anything that was happening to them. I just felt - bleugh!

I love stories that speak to me, that spark something inside me. Aside from the stories mentioned above, the stories in the collection didn't even twinkle. They felt very high brow and a tad pretentious.


  • What Becomes
  • Wasps
  • Edinburgh
  • Saturday Teatime
  • Confectioner's Gold
  • Whole Family With Young Children Devastated
  • As God Made Us
  • Marriage
  • Story Of My Life
  • Sympathy
  • Another
  • Vanish
What Becomes

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