A superb collection of stories from a prize-winning writer – some short, some long, set in locations that span the globe, all exploring the theme encapsulated by the title: tenderness.
Meet Sadie, the high-flying divorce lawyer who ends up putting marriages back together; the Ice Cream Girl, discovered in a superette and transplanted to Hollywood; the seven-year-old Prometheus, who faces death on a daily basis. With a mix of humour and compassion, each story carries the punch of a compacted novel, highlighting those illuminating moments of human connection.
‘The writing is restrained, dispassionate almost, but the narratives resonate with meaning and emotion. . . . There are moments of utter lyricism . . . The stories come with variations of style as well as emotion. Some step across swathes of space-time; some are like photo montages. They swoop from the mundane to the miraculous: a character semi-morphs into a hen or a gopher. Like a lot of good short fiction, they often imply more than they state. Bigger shapes are glimpsed in the background. They crackle with dialogue like a firefight, and moments of slyly mordant humour. Just when she wants to be at her most sophisticated, a girl is liable to end up wrist-deep in a bowl of raspberries. . . . Quigley provides a perceptive, often elegant report on human temperaments, and the universal longing for a little, well, tenderness.’
– David Hill, NZ Herald
‘Not a book to devour in one sitting but great to dip into and linger over each bite.’
– Australian Woman’s Weekly
‘Short stories do not usually hold the appeal for me that they do for others, but there is not one in this book that is not a treasure, whether it be because of her style of prose, her choice of topic or her acute observations of human nature. These are stories to be read again and again.’
– Margaret Reilly, Northern Advocate
‘. . . diversity and variety are key notes. One of Quigley’s greatest strengths, on the evidence of the stories here, is the brittle wit, particularly when it comes to describing the fragility of modern relationships between the sexes and a certain familiar social set . . . This is a substantial and impressive collection from the writer of the widely lauded The Conductor.’
– Paul Little, North & South