by Craig Wallwork
Manchester in 1991 is a town suffering under the weight of high unemployment and massive government budgetary deficits that is plunging the UK into a recession. To Daniel Crabtree, a struggling writer, it is the backcloth to his first novel, one that will see him become a famous published author. Living off mostly water and flour, Daniel has embraced penury into his life under the mistaken belief that many young artists have: one needs to suffer for success in art. But Daniel is a terrible writer. In the three years since signing on the dole, of every morning chastising his Irish singing neighbour for waking him from his sleep, and scrounging food from his close friend Henry Soperton, Daniel Crabtree has produced one short story. His heart is bereft of words as much as his pockets are of money.
It is a story of love, and how a poor starving man chasing a dream came to the understanding that amidst the clamour of life, the sound of loneliness is the most deafening of all.
by Caleb J. Ross
The child he loves. The idea of a child, he's beginning to understand, is where everything will go wrong.
William works as a human remains removal specialist, removing stains left by the dead. Whether by a bloody crime scene or a quiet domestic death, William is reminded each day of the frailty of human life. As his fiancée, Julie, nears term with their first child William becomes increasingly desperate for a way to overcome his belief that to birth is to kill. But Mrs. Rose, an elementary school principal and messenger pigeon hobbyist, nurtures William’s depressive outlook and claims to have a way to prove that William’s hesitancy to accept fatherhood is not only natural but necessary.
In this novel of impending parenthood, an idealistic teacher recruits a pliant protégé to join her group of Strangers – a devout collection of kindred minds who have dedicated their lives to cultivating a unique idea of perfection.
But joining is easier than leaving.