Audio CD review – Short Stories Volume 2

Short Stories Volume 2This new release from the British Library is a feast of short stories read by their writers, mined from the library’s rich archives.

It comprises three CDs, each holding four stories, including Beryl Bainbridge’s ‘Kiss Me, Hardy’, E M Forster’s ‘Mr Andrews’ and Seán Ó’Faoláin’s wry ‘One True Friend.”

Hearing the stories in the voices of the people who dreamt them up is an uncanny sensation, rather like having a presence in their writing room, or a conversation with them over the phone. It’s wonderfully intimate.

The stories vary immensely in tone, with notable highlights including Rose Tremain’s sparky and nostalgia-stirring ‘Extra Geography’, Osbert Sitwell’s deliciously macabre ‘Staggered Holiday’ (delivered in a spine-shivering voice!), and the lift and pull of Fay Weldon’s skilfully wrought ‘New Year’s Day’.

Listening to the authors relay their tales in their own unique accents and with their own particular emphases gives you the chance to interpret the tales through their delivery – a rare opportunity! As Steve Cleary, Curator of Drama and Literature at the British Library, says: “Although writers are not always the best performers of their own work, they bring a quality of authenticity to their readings that can never be matched by an actor.”

The perfect accompaniment to any journey, and ideal auditory inspiration fuel

The 3CD set is available from the British Library Shop (tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7735 / email: and online at as well as other bookshops throughout the UK.

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