Price: £12 +p&p
Published: 14th February 2013
n a sequence of overlapping short stories, a cast of loners and romantics explore how our anxious present is mirrored in the uncertainties of the inter-war period with its crashes and crises. Ultimately it conveys a coded warning from history about what can come to fill the void when universally accepted notions of democracy and liberal capitalism are being questioned – just as they are now.
Ashley Stokes’ restless and rootless characters dream of idealised cities or moments in the historical or personal past which they feel could offer them escape. Historically – Sally Bowles and Fritz Lang’s “M” join hands in Weimar Berlin, a faceless soldier wanders through a war-torn city looking for his lost love, an artist high on modernism gets caught up in a political assassination in Fascist Italy. Personally - they dream of capturing that unfulfilled promise, that missed perfect kiss, that unresolved moment, that thing that should have lived. The stories accumulate until their origins are revealed in the notebook jottings of one harassed teenage boy growing up in a fantasy of the Third Reich in Surrey.
Ashley Stokes was born in Carshalton, Surrey in 1970 and educated at St Anne's College, Oxford and the University of East Anglia. His fiction has appeared in many journals and anthologies. His first novel Touching the Starfish was published by Unthank Books in 2010. He lives in Norwich.