26 stories set in Wales, Northern Ireland and Italy, from the end of World War 2 to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘The film-maker and screenwriter’s move into fiction brings with it an eye for perspective, for the power of the vignette to momentarily depict a whole life. There is a craft in the economy of Graham’s prose, as evocative as it is sparse, and the theme of change resonates throughout the collection, as well as the inherently human fear of it. We are not always prepared for the moment when our lives change for ever, and Graham seeks to capture that sense of knowing and not knowing here, inviting us into an intimacy with her characters that is never forced, and always elegiac.’ Becky Long The Irish Times
‘The stories entice and intrigue… highly recommended‘ Graham Reid
‘What fires the attention is Graham’s mastery of language and her ear for local speech of both the poetic and prosaic kind. Her experimentation with Ulster Scots in particular points to a new talent in Irish writing…’ Dr Frank Ferguson Northern Slant
‘This is an exemplary collection illustrating the creative possibilities of the short fiction form.’ Jane Fraser The Lonely Crowd
‘Short, sharp and sometimes shocking, these wonderful stories truly pack a punch.’ Sue Leonard The Irish Examiner
‘Angela Graham’s collection of short stories A City Burning … has a voice that feels completely new and fresh. With stories set in Wales, Northern Ireland and Italy it’s a broad ranging collection but what I particularly loved about it… was its nuanced and beautifully observed view of the human condition. Graham’s language has a searing quality yet also a humour about it that is genuinely hard to forget long after reading. Very highly recommended – I can’t wait to see what she does next.’ Kate Hamer, The Lonely Crowd
‘The prose is elegant with a clarity of voice and purpose… The use of Welsh and Ulster Scots in some of these stories brings a vivacity to the page… poignant and haunting stories lingering in the mind long after the book is closed.’ J.L.Harland
‘Angela Graham’s debut collection A City Burning announced a confident, stylish new voice in short fiction.’ Jon Gower Nation Cymru
‘a fine writer… Some of these stories are short, jewel-like and almost Mansfield-esque in the way their protagonists achieve their epiphanies, reflecting Graham’s poetic training but also perhaps, in their reliance on visual imagery her career as a film-maker.’ Aidan Byrne Planet
‘the most striking element of Graham’s collection is the clarity of voice. Though each of the twenty-six stories employs a decidedly different perspective … Graham’s authorial command remains honest, insightful and impressive. The quasi-cinematic focus given to each story … gives the collection intriguing multiplicity and serves as a testament to Graham’s talent for interpersonal perception. The focus on linguistic exchange in A City Burning is also notable; English, Welsh, Ulster Scots, and Italian all converge to create a narrative that is both highly contextual and elegantly told. ‘ Gemma Pearson, Wales Arts Review
‘These stories show us what the genre does best: the ‘snapshot’ of a moment which reveals a life or a culture in a moment of transition or realisation, what James Joyce called an ‘epiphany’.’ Prof Diana Wallace University of South Wales
‘Graham’s background is in T.V. and film, and it shows in the writing… Her prose often has the deceptive simplicity of film, the tidiness created by the screen’s frame as well as that profound immersiveness… Each story is like a short film: its own world unfolding inexorably in front of our eyes yet retaining its power to surprise and shock.’ Sarah Tanburn The Cardiff Review
‘honest, searing, insightful and very, very good’ Inez Lynn New City
A Book of the Year 2020 for Nation Cymru and for The Lonely Crowd
Longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2021.
A Writer’s Bursary from Literature Wales supported the development of this book.
Available here @SerenBooks £9.99 paperback £7.99 e-book