The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets (short stories)

March 2008

Sophie’s story ‘The Octopus Nest’ won first prize in the 2004 Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition, and appears in this collection.

‘The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets demonstrates what a skilled writer Sophie Hannah is. These stories have a glittering darkness about them.’ Scotsman

‘It’s rare to read a collection of short stories from beginning to end, but Sophie Hannah’s debut in the form will leave you wanting more. Hannah introduces some very contemporary twists into these old-fashioned tales of the unexpected. The award-winning opening entry, “The Octopus Nest”, sets the book’s confident narrative tone. A domestic chiller about a young family’s brush with an unidentified stalker, the story is menacing enough to keep the pages turning, and astute enough about rocky relationships to make even the narrator wince. Yet more terrifying are Hannah’s stories of shame and humiliation. The more comic the scenario, the scarier the consequences. In “The Tub”, a jilted young woman resolves to enjoy a one-night stand with a man she finds repulsive; in the title story a former deputy director of a literature festival so embarrasses herself in front of Ian McEwan, she’s forced to move to Loughborough and take a job in a hotel laundry. Stories related with a relish rarely matched since the outré offerings of Roald Dahl.’ Independent

Extracts from The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets