Retired teacher Lewis Sullivan always imagined living by the sea. He lives instead in the Midlands village in which he was born. His grown-up daughter visits every day, bringing soup. He does not want soup. He frequents his second-favourite pub, where he can get half a shandy, a speciality sausage and a bit of company. When a childhood friend appears on the scene, Lewis finds his life and comfortable routine shaken up. In Moore's inimitable, haunting style, this seemingly simple but in fact multi-layered narrative unfolds with compelling assurance. Moving between memories of childhood and Lewis's current life of cosy habit, plot twists thicken and weave with stealthily increasing tension. Always unexpected, sparely written and beautifully crafted, He Wants deftly dissects the themes of loneliness, anxiety, the weight of recollection and the complex nature of friendship and family ties. A surprising, lingering and intensely moving tale from one of our most exciting novelists.
Alison Moore's first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the National Book Awards 2012 (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize 2013. Her shorter fiction has been published in Best British Short Stories anthologies and in her debut collection The Pre-War House and Other Stories, whose title story won a novella prize. Born in Manchester in 1971, she lives near Nottingham with her husband Dan and son Arthur.