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In her third collection of short stories, Helen Simpson continues to explore ideas of independence, solitude, marriage, sex and babies with her characteristic blend of comedy and lyricism. Here are tales of young love - successful or thwarted, intense or comic.
From a wedding day for one, through the knotty problems of babies, their conception, arrival and impact on adult lives, to a Lothario receiving his just deserts, and the title story, where a schoolgirl's erotic daydreams during Shakespeare homework produce eventual blushes of horror.
Helen Simpson's sixth short-story collection, Cockfosters, follows Four Bare Legs in a Bed (1990), Dear George (1995), Hey Yeah Right Get a Life (2000), Constitutional (2005) and In-Flight Entertainment (2010).
A Bunch of Fives: Selected Stories (2012) includes five stories from each of her first five collections. She has received the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Hawthornden Prize and the E.M.Forster Award. She lives in London.
"Of all contemporary writers, Simpson has the most honest, the most authentic voice"
"Biting wit...has me laughing aloud"
"Simpson's wit defies formulaic feminism or, indeed, any other -ism... Very, very funny"
"Full of good jokes, wonderfully alert to irony and the possibilities of language"
"Effortless charm, wit and vivid sexual detail"