Tessa Hadley

Bad Dreams (Jonathan Cape, Vintage)

What is your favourite short story from the collection?

“I loved every story in this book. They show us how the extraordinary hides within the ordinary and how the small events in life can sometimes lead to profound change and transformation. If I had to choose a favourite story it would be the title one, ‘Bad Dreams’. It’s about a daughter who wakes up in the middle of the night after a bad dream and then commits a small act of rebellion. When the mother misinterprets the deed the following morning, as being an act of spite on the father’s part, it allows us to catch a glimpse of the unvoiced resentments that can threaten all families.” – Billy Cowan

What the Critics say?

“This is writing of great nuance and psychological acuity … Bad Dreams is remarkable not only for Hadley’s penetrating engagement with her subject matter, but for her extraordinary and distinctive range. It combines acerbic social observation and wry humour with moments of breathtaking delicacy and tenderness. This is a collection to be read and reread.” – The Guardian

“The impossibility of forgetting something bad once you have known it runs like a current through these peculiar stories. Each one has a perplexing, but compelling, blend of familiarity and idiosyncrasy. The settings, the plots, even the characters giving off a low, comfortable hum of literary Englishness. There are familiar kinds of rooms (kitchens and lounges), foods (muesli and seed cake), and places (Leeds and Stafford), but there is something unsettling about these conventional invocations, something gently malign. Hadley’s precision, her unwavering eye for a telling detail, elevates this collection into something out of the ordinary.” – L.A Review of Books

Buy Bad Dreams here

Tessa Hadley is the author of six highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right (Jonathan Cape, 2004), The Master Bedroom (Jonathan Cape, 2007), The London Train (Jonathan Cape, 2011), Clever Girl (Jonathan Cape, 2013) and The Past (Jonathan Cape, 2015), and two collections of stories, Sunstroke (Jonathan Cape, 2007) and Married Love (Jonathan Cape, 2012). The Past won the Hawthornden Prize for 2016. She lives in London and is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker and other magazines.

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