Cynthia Flood’s The English Stories offers a series of twelve linked fictions detailing the story of Amanda Ellis, a young Canadian girl who goes with her parents to England “for a year that stretched into two,” and her life at St. Mildred’s school. Flood’s suite is not limited to first person narration by the heroine; rather, the author chooses to spice this collection with a wide range of perspectives and voices. The result is an intricate collage which gives a sense of English life as viewed by an outsider during the 1950s, as the country tries to dust itself off in both the aftermath of the Second World War and the collapse of the British Empire. The English Stories is an assured and mature collection by one of the best short-story writers to come out of Canada, pairing striking emotional depth with tremendous technical skill.
“These stories are challenging, tricky, ripe with allusionary gateways to the wider world of literature. And so rewarding, for the richness of character, the intricate detail, and careful plotting that holds just enough back, keeping us alert and anticipating what’s around every next turn.”—Pickle Me This
“Taken together, the stories ultimately achieve a brooding resonance that captures the literal and spiritual dampness of a provincial scene that all but died out with the last remnants of the British Empire.”—Quill & Quire
“The English Stories consistently delight for their careful craft and thematic intricacy, but especially for their attention to language…”—Globe and Mail