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We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

Thomas Morris

The big themes of ordinary life inspire this outstanding debut story collection from a new star on the literary scene.

Date Published
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Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2016

‘Heart-hurtingly acute, laugh-out-loud funny, and not just a book of the year for me but one of the most satisfying collections I’ve read for years.’ Ali Smith, Guardian

A young video shop assistant exchanges the home comforts of one mother-figure for a fleeting encounter with another; a brother and sister find themselves at the bottom of a coal mine with a Japanese tourist; a Welsh stag on a debauched weekend in Dublin confesses an unimaginable truth; and a twice-widowed pensioner tries to persuade the lovely Mrs Morgan to be his date at the town’s summer festival…

Set in Caerphilly, a sleepy castle town in South Wales, Thomas Morris’ debut collection reveals its treasures in unexpected ways, offering vivid and moving glimpses of the lost, lonely and bemused. By turns poignant, witty, and tender – these entertaining stories detail the lives of people who know where they are, but don’t know what they’re doing.

This is the work of a young writer with a startlingly fresh voice, an uncanny ear for dialogue and a broad emotional range. We Don’t Know What We’re Doing is a major launch for the Faber fiction list in 2015.

Critic Reviews

Heart-hurtingly acute, laugh-out-loud funny, and not just a book of the year for me but one of the most satisfying collections I've read for years.

Ali Smith, Guardian
Critic Reviews

Morris manages intimate detail with exquisite skill and emotional control. He has a special talent for rendering small moments of drama, giving them a dramatic force that makes this first book of stories really impressive and memorable.

Colm Tóibín, Irish Independent
Critic Reviews

A beautiful, emotionally searching collection of stories about youth, responsibility and growing up.

Critic Reviews

These ten stories are grounded and utterly glorious ... they are distinct but all of a piece, delights to savour.

Literary Review
Critic Reviews

[T]here's something radiant about the frankness of his writing.

Critic Reviews

[Morris'] fresh, direct writing style feels brand new, slamming the reader up against the chaos of his characters' inner lives in a way that makes you exhilarated and bruised.


Thomas Morris is from Caerphilly, South Wales. He was educated solely through the Welsh language until the age of eighteen and, in his teens, trialled at Cardiff City and played Welsh League football. He studied English and Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin. Dubliners 100, a short story anthology he devised and edited, was published in 2014. He lives in Dublin,…

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