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Sex & Death

Peter Hobbs

A collection of short stories edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs featuring Ali Smith, Ben Marcus and Kevin Barry

Date Published
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How we come in, and how we go out, sex and death: these are the governing drives, our two greatest themes.

In this provocative, haunting and sexy collection of short stories, a group of acclaimed writers from across the globe probe the nature of, and connection between, two of the most powerful, exhilarating and terrifying forces that define and shape the human experience: sex and death.

Here we see the events that mark the lives of the young and old, of men and women, of those meeting only briefly and of others reflecting on shared pasts. In these intense, often traumatic and sometimes humorous interactions, we are confronted not just with our urges and anxieties, but with the very limits of mortality and morbidity.

Honest, compassionate and psychologically astute, the stories in Sex & Death are daring in their approaches to the form and relentless in their pursuit of what it is to be human.

Featuring stories by:

Kevin Barry
Lynn Coady
Ceridwen Dovey
Robert Drewe
Damon Galgut
Petina Gappah
Sarah Hall
Peter Hobbs
Yiyun Li
Alexander MacLeod
Ben Marcus
Jon McGregor
Guadalupe Nettel
Courttia Newland
Taiye Selasi
Ali Smith
Wells Tower
Alan Warner
Claire Vaye Watkins
Clare Wigfall

Critic Reviews

The stories in Sex & Death often show death at a remove . . . But if many characters remain largely oblivious to death until it forces its way into their lives, they are only too conscious of sex and the having of it . . . the division between life and death is at all times thinner and more fragile than we willingly admit.

Chris Power, Guardian
Critic Reviews

These 20 stories grapple with the meaning of life in myriad heartfelt ways, combining to create a challenging yet life-affirming read. Curl up on the sofa and indulge yourself.'

Imogen Lycett Green, Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

It could be argued that all tales are, somehow, about sex or death, but in this collection of 20 short stories written by authors around the world, these tantalising themes are thrust into the spotlight. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, such as Alan Warner's Porto Baso Scale Modellers, when an attractive woman tries to join a group of elderly model plane enthusiasts. Some are creepy, for example In The Reactor, by Peter Hobbs, about two dummy nuclear plant workers. And some are overtly sexual, but it's not a collection of soft porn stories. Instead, there's plenty to provoke longer thought - Fin by Lynn Coady and Reversible by Courttia Newland throw up difficult subjects that are hard to forget - with a couple of light-hearted one-shots to balance it all out.'

Graeme Smith, The Herald
Critic Reviews

snap this one up because it is a treat.


Peter Hobbs is the author of two novels, The Short Day Dying and In The Orchard, The Swallows, as well as a collection of short stories, I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train. His work has won a Betty Trask Award, and been shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the John Lewellyn Rhys Prize and…

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