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Sleepwalkers Paperback – May 9, 2013
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About the Author
Bernie McGill was born in Northern Ireland. She has written for the theatre (The Weather Watchers, The Haunting of Helena Blunden), a collection of short stories entitled Sleepwalkers and a novel, The Butterfly Cabinet. Her short fiction has been shortlisted for numerous awards and in 2008 she won the Zoetrope:All-Story Short Fiction Award in the US. She is a recipient of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's inaugural ACES (Artists' Career Enhancement Scheme) Award in association with the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen's University, Belfast. She lives in Portstewart in Northern Ireland with her family and works as a Creative Writing facilitator. She likes to sit in cafes drinking cappuccino and making up stories about the people going past. She blogs at www.berniemcgill.com.
Top customer reviews
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Honestly, if this site used half-star ratings, I might have been tempted to give Sleepwalkers four-and-a-half stars instead of five, only because a few of the tales could not possibly measure up to the standard Bernie McGill established in the title tale, but she matched and maybe even raised the bar in a few of the others. For my money, the stories, "Home," "What I Was Left," "First Tooth," and "Sleepwalkers," are the top-tier. First-rate. More than capable of withstanding hard scrutiny and comparison to any writer of the short story you want to name; IMHO, they will not fall short. The stories, "No Angel," and "Marked," are only marginally outshone . . . It's different for every reader, and for me the other stories in the collection were maybe slightly less successful at first-reading, but only in contrast to the shimmering examples listed above. Having said that, I'd be proud to call any of the stories in "Sleepwalkers" mine.
Happily, for Bernie McGill, they are indisputably hers; her gift is profound, and readers can anticipate future offerings with nothing less than excitement. Happily, too, the book has been well-received in the UK where it garnered a nomination for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize. It is little wonder that distinguished UK writers such as Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton Abbey), Rachel Hore, Ian Sansom, and Eugene McCabe are admirers of the works of Bernie McGill. We Yanks can learn a thing or two yet from the old country.
Fans of the short story might consider putting Sleepwalkers on a Christmas list, or moving it to the top of the must-read list. My only recommendation to the publishers is that it should arrive packaged with a warning: Reading it, you might feel let down, but only because it is a great pleasure that ends all too soon.
Among them: A woman out and about running errands, who all of a sudden forgets who she is but, when she later remembers, will probably wish she hadn't.... An "almost-14-year-old-girl," with a birthmark on her face, whose best friend pretends not to know her in public, gets an invitation to meet a boy after school "behind the mobiles".... A young wife with a bad case of nerves, struggles to cook something her persnickety sister-in-law might deign to eat, while being constantly distracted by a "brittle" friend's nonstop gossip....a woman running away from family tragedy becomes a housesitter, then finds the house has a male visitor.... The title story (and by far the longest at 16 pages), is about a mother and her three kids who travel to Seville, after death by drunk driving kills their estranged husband and father.
Readers in search of mostly happy stories, may want to look elsewhere.