cover image In Another Country

In Another Country

David Constantine. Biblioasis (Consortium, U.S. dist.; Univ. of Toronto, Canadian dist.), $24.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-77196-017-5

Despite such accolades as winning the 2013 Frank O’Connor Award for Tea at the Midland and Other Stories, British short fiction author, poet, and translator Constantine has never been published in the U.S. This book corrects that oversight by bringing a brilliant selection of Constantine’s previously published stories to North American readers. The 17 short stories in this collection include “Tea at the Midland,” in which a troubled couple contemplates the death-defying antics of nearby surfers, and the title story, about an aging married man who receives a letter that catapults him back to Germany from the U.K. and the harrowing death of his first love. A film adaptation is slated for release in 2015 under the name 45 Years. The characters sometimes take themselves too seriously, but they all provoke genuine pathos, and Constantine manages to avoid sentimentality. The diverse characters include ex-monks, shamed canons, prostitutes, squatters, successful businessmen, and university professors, but a common thread of silent suffering and dignity ties them all together. The tragic and the beautiful in each of their experiences is heightened by the author’s impeccable eloquence and poetic imagery. (June)