'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.'
Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium. The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.
From the author of Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series and The Bookshop Book.
About the Author
Jen Campbell grew up in the northeast of England, and graduated from Edinburgh University with an MA in English Literature. She is a published poet and short-story writer. She lives in north London where she works at Ripping Yarns bookshop.
Campbell's entirely fresh reframing of classic fairytales within modern experiences...really got me thinking. The perfect autumnal read to curl up with. * Stylist *
razor-sharp critique of contemporary issues and deeply moving short stories * Stylist *
quietly excellent * Stylist *
The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a gem of a book * Stylist *
A darkly clever, beautifully written and deliciously twisted collection of modern fairy tales -- Sarra Manning * Red *
'dark, twisted fairy tales' -- Kirsty Logan * The Herald *
Full of wonder: brilliantly imaginative, with dark, unsettling undercurrents ... The characters sparkle with a sense of the surreal, but these outcasts, misfits and loners are filled with hopes and dreams, and are as believable as those in any true-life novel. * Psychologies *
Interwoven with myth and fairy tale, these stories are surprising, delightful, and by turns dangerous and joyful, like walking through a mirror and discovering a world that you both recognise and have never seen before. -- Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
'Campbell's fairy tales retain a kaleidoscope quality from the first to the last page...a reality coloured by our imagination in which we are as strong as we are vulnerable, as similar as we are different.' Sanja Gligoric
There are so many intriguing characters and situations to be enjoyed in The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night...Jen Campbell is clearly a writer to watch. -- Katy Goodwin-Bates * New Books magazine *
Visceral, sinister and yet strangely beguiling ... her stories often explore characters, situations and settings caught in that strange area between the known and the unfamiliar, between the normal and the 'monstrous' ... Comparisons could be made to Angela Carter, but Campbell's stories have a quality completely their own; haunting in their imagery and powerful in their brevity. -- Carolyn Percy * Wales Art Review *
Interesting and refreshing ... an extremely enlightening read * TN2 Magazine *
Funny and poignant and unexpected. A fable for our times. -- Sarah Franklin
Weird and whimsical ... interesting, snappy, and thought-provoking * The Story Collector blog *