This Cruel Station by Martin Malone
Martin Malone: there are gasp-out-loud moments in each of these perfectly composed stories. Photograph: Jimmy Fullam
This Cruel Station
A murderous vicious streak emerges when a group of older women go on holiday; a man buries the infant girl he could never have claimed as his own child; a student discovers an unlikely connection with a hard-nosed teacher; a member of the Orange Order exiled in Ecuador maintains a Catholic priest’s lifesaving transport system. There are gasp-out-loud moments in each of these perfectly composed stories, some of which are inhabited by characters seething with hatred, others of which uncover unexpected moments of kindness which emerge in the most unlikely circumstances. Malone is a powerful storyteller; assured, compassionate, clear-eyed in his observation. Humanity runs through this collection like a ley line and the dark machinations that bubble beneath the surface of many of the stories are perfectly balanced by the ribbon of quiet love that winds its way through others. It is a true pleasure to read such an accomplished collection.