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What Becomes

Written by A.L. Kennedy

  • 232 Pages
  • 9780887842412
  • 8.5" x 5.312"
  • FICTION / Literary
  • FICTION / Short Stories (single author)


Publication Date March 01, 2010

A. L. Kennedy's remarkable new collection of stories shows us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. She reveals the sadness, violence, hurt, and terror, but also the redemption of love, and she does so with enormous human compassion, wild leaps of humour, and the brilliantly original linguistic skill that distinguishes her as one of the world's finest writers.

Always attuned to the moment of epiphany, these twelve stories are profound, intimate observations of men and women whose lives ache with possibility. Each story is a dramatization of the instant in a life that exposes it all; love and the lack of love, hope and the lack of hope. These men and women are perfectly ordinary people whose marriages flounder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger. They conceal tenderness and disappointment, vulnerability and longing, griefs and wonders.

Devastating and funny, intimate and profound, the stories in What Becomes are further proof that Kennedy is one of the most dazzling and inventive writers of her generation.


A.L. Kennedy

The author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, and five collections of short stories, A. L. Kennedy’s last novel, The Blue Book, was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and her novel Day was the 2007 Costa Book of the Year. She has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Warwick University.


"Even when the best short-story writers tackle the subject of people failing to connect, there is always a danger that the stories will become inert, but Kennedy avoids this by inhabiting her characters so fully that the reader feels the keenness of each new rejection...Buy it." National Post

"Twelve stories from the manic mistress of comically vitriolic observation. No insecurity or sense of alienation is left unturned in Kennedy's tales of estranged couples, fleeting intimacy and overwhelming disappointment." Financial Times

"Every story in What Becomes is a stand-alone gem, presented with a sensibility that goes to Kennedy's Glasgow roots. She is a writer's writer, and deserves to be a reader's read." Denver Post

"True, and mercilessly human. There is nothing idealized about Kennedy's characters or the situations they find themselves in; instead, every story serves as a magnifying glass, revealing darker impulses and truths that we, as readers, often prefer to keep concealed." Edmonton Journal

"Kennedy is that rarest kind of writer who combines wry emotional intelligence with technical impeccability." Matrix Magazine

". . . [a] harrowing collection . . . [A. L. Kennedy] can go from darkness to humor in a heartbeat." New York Times