I’ve not read Matthew Kneale’s English Passengers, although I have thought about it…. so spotting this more recent publication in the Barbican Library I decided to give it a whirl, and I’m glad I did. I like short stories, and in this collection Matthew Kneale writes about characters whose acts do disservice to themselves, or those they encounter. Sometimes you feel on their side, at other times not.
The story that sticks in the mind comes near the start of the collection, where a modern London family tries out independent travel for the first time and cause the execution of a man who did nothing but help them and be perceived as being a bit “odd” – hardly surprising given he lived in a Chinese city off the beaten track for western visitors. One other is about a respectable London solicitor who finds more profit and job satisfaction as a drugs dealer, until his late teenage children find out. Lots of familiar settings for a young metropolitain type such as I am.
Buy it: Amazon link