Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

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Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't

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So during the pandemic when I really couldn’t gig, I realised that I was allowed to cycle to the empty offices of Arts Emergency, and that I could use that as a workspace. I struggled with this - some of the stories were just perfect, such as the story of the women on an estate in lockdown and the story of the grandpa trying to compensate for a relationship between a son and his father. Or you're the thinks-herself-chubby-and-ugly girl wanting to get in with the cool-but-very-flawed crowd at school, or you're suffering because a guy at a party can't keep it in your trousers, or someone from your past moves in to the neighbourhood, with his current and you have a hard time over you being his ex still, or someone from your past ends up on a nearby billboard you see daily. I also think there’s quite a lot in it about political and climate anxiety and how hard it is to parent in the climate crisis so there’s definitely a bit of political anxiety and opinion, but I would hope as well that all of them have a bit of love towards the characters too, that it’s quite a loving book. And indeed, occasional point-of-view characters are male, like the schoolboy whose determinedly no-nonsense, TED talk-listening dad is cutting him off from the artier, less dreadful side of his family.

Everyone has experienced loss, unrequited love, a bully, and more importantly their own internal doubt - perhaps not in excess as the poor characters involved in Long's short stories.The long and the short of it is that comedian Josie Long has turned her hand to writing fiction and will be bringing her first book of stories, Because I Don't Know What You Mean and What You Don't, to Wigtown Book Festival next weekend. But over sixteen stories I wanted her to break away from the minimalist Carver style, and hoped for more variety of tone.

I think that story did act as a vehicle for a lot of built up STRESS about class and respectability and niceness of people in England who want to be seen as good and also renting in London and poor quality accommodation. Added to that has been a rising political consciousness that’s made her one of the UK’s loudest left-wing voices – alongside Stewart Lee, who was an early champion of her work – in a comedy scene that often ducks away from controversy. They’ve usually got fancy covers or clever titles, and I’m often drawn in by the promise of all the different themes they’ll cover in seemingly few pages. It's the ability to create an authentic voice, and the way she can infuse a story with anger, heartache, heartbreak and wonder, all at the same time. That absolutely has its root in my stand up and experience of having my two kids and their being so little and feeling lots of climate anxiety and trying to get to a point where I feel I can be positive with them about the world and the future.There are stories here that are experimental and cutting, and a little more of that would be welcome. However, these minor issues aside, I found the character explorations very satisfying, and enjoyed each one. Best surely is the piece regarding a charged attack on the upper middle classes, from two young women determined to get their slice.

There are issues of identity, and memories, including a boy's troubled relationship with his father, a forgotten memory surfaces of his abusive father from when he was a toddler. This book is rife with people who exploit the desires of others to believe certain truths – for personal gain, but also just to avoid detection.I'm half amazed that a thought, a way of looking at something can just sit unchallenged, unexamined, for twenty years before you can take a look at it and realise that it's junk. But how does she feel instead about the fact that these stories are fixed, unchangeable from now on? Because I Don't Know What You Mean And What You Don’t is due to be published next year, with publishers Canongate saying: ‘Each tale paints a life in miniature and offers an escape chute from the catastrophes of modern life. The last story, I don’t know was also not too bad but again I don’t know (hehe see what I did there) why?

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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