Briefly Noted | The China Factory by Mary Costello Review | The Guardian

This is a writer unafraid of the graveside, or the bedside, of filling the space of the story to the brim. Large events happen in small lives – people die, for a start, they fall in and out of love, they have children and affairs. The slow leaking of love out of a relationship is described in particular and terrible banality, as Costellos characters move about their ordinary rooms. There is a kind of immaculate suburban sadness in many of these tales.

Costello’s characters are lonely, especially when they are in a relationship. This loneliness is almost precious; it is certainly made sweeter by infidelity. Sexual betrayal is a recurring theme, not just as escape, but as transcendence. In “Sleeping With a Stranger”, a school inspector recalls an extramarital episode while sitting with his dying mother. There is no guilt; in fact he experiences something like the opposite of guilt, and the rhapsodic ending recalls the surging epiphanies of Flannery O’Connor.

via The China Factory by Mary Costello – review | Books | The Guardian. Review by Anne Enright, a near perfect review for any writer I think!