Tag Archive > Aminatta Forna

The Hired Man

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The Hired Man,  Aminatta Forna, book reviewThe Hired Man of Aminatta Forna’s novel is Duro, a 40-something man who lives alone with his two hunting dogs in Gost, a small (fictional) Croatian town somewhere between Zagreb and the sea. There he leads a quiet existence until the arrival at a dilapidated neighbouring house of an attractive Englishwoman, Laura, and her two children, Matthew a surly seventeen year old and Grace, a few years younger. Laura’s workaholic husband, Conor, had bought the house unseen believing the area to be the next big thing as property prices on the coast increase. Neither Laura nor the kids find the place to be what they expected. Matthew is frustrated by the lack of internet access while “Laura wanted cheese and cured meats, olives soaked in oil and vine tomatoes, like in Italy. Instead she found imitation leather jackets, mobile-phone covers and pickled vegetables.”


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The BBC National Short Story Award 2010

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The BBC National Short Story Award 2010, Jon McGregor,  Sarah Hall, David Constantine,  James Naughtie, book review2010 was the fifth year for the BBC National Short Story Award, one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for the genre. The book includes the winning short story, the runner-up and three others. The stories are presented in alphabetical order of the authors, and by coincidence the first one is also the winning one. The authors are all British, but one of the stories is set in Africa. They concern love affairs, family relationships and the plight of a man living alone in an unusual situation.

The collection opens with David Constantine’s “Tea at the Midland”, the winning entry. James Naughtie praises it in part for its brevity; the story is in fact only just over seven pages long, and within these seven pages are just ten paragraphs. I can understand why this was the winner of the ward, even though it wasn’t a story that I personally enjoyed.

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