In the tradition of Raymond Carver or Tobias Wolff, these are all-encompassing stories of the American psyche, of love and loss and of the landscape and its people. A goldfish circles in its bowl, refusing to die, becoming the silent focus of a difficult family life; a pianist loses his talents as he is forced to question the meaning of love and commitment. Through a blend of lyricism and humour, these stories of ordinary human dilemmas take flight and become mythical and universal. David Means is a rare writer who transports us to the heart of what it is to be human.
Reviews of The Secret Goldfish
‘Means evokes a deep, troubling pathos without a speck of sentimentality. The same could be said of his work in general … Means is a fine writer, superior to many of his more famous contemporaries … His prose is now reliably well-judged, often masterful’ Michel Faber, Guardian
‘Means weaves punchy tales that arrive straight at the violent heart of a relationship. He writes in ‘A Visit From Jesus’: “The World, this world this great country of his, could eat anything, absolutely anything up.” Means shows us, with intense honesty, just how this is done’ Carl Wilkinson, Observer
‘The short story is Mean’s natural medium: in his hands it seems as elemental a form as the landscape from which he patiently carves it – he takes you to places you don’t want to visit, but makes you understand why you have to go there’ Daily Telegraph.
‘Short stories is a form at which he excels. Reading these stories is like being resensitised, woken up to the astonishing possibilities of language’ The Sunday Business Post