Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell: Bric-a-brac of ordinary life

Book review: These neatly crafted short stories find poetry in the rituals of domesticity

Lucy Caldwell: an astute observer of the mundane. Photograph: Tom Routh

Lucy Caldwell: an astute observer of the mundane. Photograph: Tom Routh

In Words for Things, one of 11 neatly crafted short stories comprising Lucy Caldwell’s Intimacies, two mothers reminisce about a party they attended when they were young. One of them points out: “There’ll soon be less distance . . . between our babies and us-then, than us-then and us-now.” 

The narrator looks back on her carefree early 20s, which she spent “putting the world to rights over cocktails of Zubrówka and apple juice”; a life of “big cities with bright lights, flatshares and failed love affairs and flea markets on Sundays”. The protagonist of another story, Lady Moon, recalls drinking Irish cream as a teenager: “Baileys and Sambuca, a Slippery Nipple. A Screaming Orgasm had amaretto and Kahlúa in it too. It was the height of sophistication, at the Wolsey or the Boom Boom Room.”

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