Tea at the Midland

The characters in David Constantine’s fourth collection are often delicately caught in moments of defiance. Disregarding their age, their family, or the prevailing political winds, they show us a way of marking out a space for resistance and taking an honest delight in it. Witness Alphonse – having broken out of an old people’s home, changed his name, and fled the country – now pedalling down the length of the Rhône, despite knowing he has barely six months to live. Or the clergyman who chooses to spend Christmas Eve – and the last few hours in his job – in a frozen, derelict school, dancing a wild jig with a vagrant called Goat. Key to these characters’ defiance is the power of fiction, the act of holding real life at arm’s length and simply telling a story – be it of the future they might claim for themselves, or the imagined lives of others. Like them, Constantine’s bewitching, finely-wrought stories give us permission to escape, they allow us to side-step the inexorable traffic of our lives, and beseech us to take possession of the moment.

Press

'The excellence of the collection is fractal: the whole book is excellent, and every story is excellent, and every paragraph is excellent, and every sentence is excellent. And, unlike some literary fiction, it's effortless to read.' - The Independent on Sunday.

'Masterful...pregnant with fluctuating interpretations and concealed motives.' - The Guardian.

'Peculiarity is wrapped into the heart of David Constantine’s collection; in its characters and their fragile lives.' - The Financial Times

Awards

Winner of the BBC National Short Story Award 2010
Winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize 2013

Rights Profile

Rights Available
World, all languages

Original Language
English

Samples Available
Full text available in English

ISBN

9781905583492

Publication Date

August 2012

Link

Tea at the Midland on the Comma Press website