The stories of David Constantine are unlike any others. His characters possess you instantly, making you see the world as they do, sometimes as exiles, driven into isolation by convictions that even they don't fully understand; sometimes as carriers of an unspoken but unbearable weight. The things they pursue or evade are often unseen and at a distance, like the perfectly preserved body of a woman in the title story, waiting to be discovered in the receding ice of a Swiss glacier.
These tokens of the past or future haunt Constantine's characters, but the landscapes that produce them also offer salvation, places of refuge or small treasures to take solace in, like the piece of driftwood a beachcomber chooses to carve into his idea of perfection. Gathering together stories from over two decades of writing, this selection demonstrates why Constantine has been hailed as perhaps the finest of contemporary writers in this form. Their bewitching and urgent language is at one and the same time unsettling and strong enough to help.
Born in Salford in 1944, David Constantine worked for 30 years as a university teacher of German language and literature. He has published several volumes of poetry, most recently Nine Fathom Deep (2009). He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet. David's short story 'In Another Country' has been adapted into 45 Years - a major Film4-funded feature film directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. This film won two silver bear awards at the Berlinale International Film Festival in February 2015.
Image Rights: Cover image by Agatha A. Nitecka. Courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye. From 45 Years, directed by Andrew Haigh, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay.