‘Her stories are at times the laugh-out-loud funny of Alan Bennett and at others, the achingly sad of the great, David Constantine.’—Paul McVeigh
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With a sharp eye and tough warmth, Lisa Blower strikes a new chord in regional and working-class fiction.
This fabulous collection of her award-winning short stories is dominated by the working-class matriarch. From the wise, witty and outspoken Nan of ‘Broken Crockery’, who has lived and worked in Stoke-on-Trent for all of her 92 years, to happy hooker Ruthie in ‘The Land of Make Believe’, to sleep-deprived Laura in ‘The Trees in the Wood’, to young mum Roxanne in ‘The Cherry Tree’, she appears in many shapes and forms, and always with a stoicism that is hard to break down.
Lisa Blower celebrates her characters with stories they wouldn’t want told. She makes the bleak funny, and brings to life the silent histories and harsh realities of those living on the margins.
‘It’s gone dark over Bill’s mother’s’ is a Potteries’ saying that means it’s looking a bit bleak, a little like rain. With origins as a footless and random as the barflies trying to find their meanings in ‘Happenstance’, it is an expression that sums up this fabulous collection.
William Boyd on Broken Crockery4 December 2019
The winning story, Broken Crockery by Lisa Blower, is written from the perspective of a young girl whose beloved "nan" has been admitted to the same hospital as Margaret Thatcher. "I'm a bit tearful," Blower said on learning of her success, "because the story was inspired by my own nan, and I lost her a month ago."
Blower, 35, a full-time creative writing student from the Wirral, gave up her career in radio marketing three years ago to pursue her life-long dream of writing. "I'm one of those writers who's been hacking away for years, and never won anything or had anything published," she says. The judges selected the story because, in Boyd's words, "it knew exactly how to play with and exploit the potential of its naive narrative voice—what to say
but, far more importantly, what not to say—quite apart from its wit, and the undercurrent of sadness it explored without ever being sentimental."View source
The Literary Sofa24 January 2019
Lisa Blower celebrates her characters with stories that they wouldn’t want told. She makes the bleak funny, in a voice reminiscent of Alan Bennett, and strikes a new chord in regional and working-class fiction. With a sharp eye and tough warmth, Lisa Blower brings to life the silent histories and harsh realities of those living on the margins. The matriarch dominates these award-winning stories in Lisa Blower’s debut collection. From the wise, witty and outspoken Nan of Broken Crockery, who has lived and worked in Stoke-on-Trent for all of her 92 years, never owning a passport, to happy hooker Ruthie in The Land of Make Believe or young mum Roxanne in The Cherry Tree, she appears in many shapes and forms, and always with a stoicism that is hard to break down. The title is a Potteries saying that means it’s looking a bit bleak, a little like rain.
This is top notch short fiction, showing remarkable depth of voice, character and human bonds. The first story, Barmouth, is magnificent and made more of an impact on me than many novels.View source
Nina Allan discussing Trees in the Wood from It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s27 December 2018
‘This leaves me in the kitchen with the twins, Margot and Henry, who have just turned five and are still in their school uniforms squabbling over jigsaw pieces under the kitchen table where they also now like to eat. I have told Mia that I don’t agree with them eating off the floor like dogs, but she says at least they’re eating and it keeps them quiet and I spot a few rubbery-looking pasta twirls on the floor and a dollop of what looks like hardened ketchup.’ Laura lives alone. She hasn’t been able to sleep since the death of her mother. She’s spending the night at Mia’s house on the advice of her doctor, that she should undergo a course of ‘sleeplessness with someone you trust’. Mia is a palliative care nurse with five-year-old twins, a teenage daughter, and a never-there husband. She’s completely exhausted. The two women share an evening. From between the cracks, secrets emerge. The details and textures of the women’s lives are utterly different—and yet there is something that each can give the other. An emotionally draining, hard-hitting story with an unexpectedly positive outcome. Brilliantly written.View source
Shropshire Star1 March 2018
I'm terribly excited about this. A collection of short stories by the brilliant writer Lisa Blower who is based in Shrewsbury. The arresting title of the book is It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s. Puzzled? It’s a Potteries saying that means it’s looking a bit bleak, looking a bit like it might rain.
Now, I absolutely loved Lisa’s last book, the highly-acclaimed novel of working class life in Stoke-on-Trent, Sitting Ducks. I've met Lisa a couple of times. Interviewed her once for a Chronicle article. Popped along to one of her creative writing talks. You know how it is. I now tell people that she's a personal friend of mine .... a bit like those people who went to school with Ringo's next door neighbour's cousin and then told everyone they were personal friends of The Beatles. Awww. Bless.
Anyway. Look out for this. With a sharp eye and tough warmth, Lisa Blower brings to life the silent histories and harsh realities of those living on the margins. The book isn’t officially out until next spring, but you can pre-order it at the Myriad publishers website.View source