Bad Dreams and Other Stories.
Booklist Reviews 2017 May #1
Women in transition, from marriage to divorce, from young to old, from devoted mother or sister to outcast within her own family—these are the lives that Hadley (The Past, 2016) delves into with her masterful command of the intricacies of the mind. A young girl discovers her mother's feelings for another man in "One Saturday Morning," while, in "An Abduction," another teen learns that her mother is oblivious to her fierce desire for freedom from her quotidian family life. In "Experience," a recent divorcée retreats from the world when she house-sits for a friend with a violent ex, and, in "Flight," Claire's attempted reunion with her estranged sister ends in humiliation. A sense of sorrow permeates these stories in which raw emotion is laid bare: the longing for connection, for identity, for discovery, for life. Fantasies of what could be collide with the reality of what is. Each story is more memorable than the next as Hadley seduces readers with a reassuring gentleness that craftily covers the steely danger that lies within each flawed and fragile relationship. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 January #1
Winner of Hawthornden and Windham Campbell honors, Hadley returns after the tautly strung family tale
LJ Reviews 2017 June #2
A loss of innocence lies at the heart of these stories from Windham Campbell Prize winner Hadley. Tinged with sadness and regret, they are often set in bygone eras, viewed through the sharper lens of the present. In "An Abduction," awkward 15-year-old Jane is spirited away by three older boys riding around in search of mischief and adventure. Over a day of shoplifting, recreational drugs, and reckless sex, Jane's naivete begins to fall away. In "The Stain," Marina, a competent and caring housekeeper for an elderly gentleman, finds her feelings toward him gradually become compromised when his brutal South African past comes to light. "One Saturday Morning" begins as ten-year-old Carrie, home alone, answers the door to an old friend of her parents who has arrived unexpectedly. Too shy to entertain him herself, she hides away until her parents return from their errands. Later that day, Carrie overhears conversations that will broaden her understanding of the adult world. In "Flight," old grievances resurface when two estranged sisters reunite after many years apart, with one of them nursing the faint hope of a rapprochement while the other holds fast to her bitterness.
PW Reviews 2017 March #4
Young women and girls take the measure of themselves in Hadley's remarkably precise and perceptive collection of short stories, set in the middle-class Britain of the 1950s and '60s and in the present day. Chance encounters disrupt the punctiliously observed rituals of daily life, often leading to a lifetime of consequence for Hadley's characters. In the excellent "An Abduction," Jane Allsop's first sexual experience, at 15, is not traumatic in any ordinary sense, but affects her deeply—whereas the Oxford student she sleeps with retains no memory of it. In "Experience," Laura, a new divorcée, finds that "letting go of the strain of yearning" is "a relief," moving on with her life precisely because her attempt at seduction is unsuccessful. In loving families, too, differing viewpoints can lead to resentment and misunderstanding: "Her Share of Sorrow" is the account of an artist—the awkward 10-year-old daughter of an elegant couple—discovering her vocation in writing; in "Bad Dreams," a bookish girl plays a prank that may have lasting repercussions for her parents' marriage. And the young designer making a wedding dress for a classmate in "Silk Brocade" becomes witness to the impact of time and happenstance on even the richest and most beautiful material. In subtly insightful and observant prose, Hadley writes brilliantly of the words and gestures that pass unnoticed "in the intensity of present" but echo without cease.