Elle Nash is an American writer relocated to Scotland, and her collection of vibrant short stories, Nudes, follows her brilliant debut novella, Animals Eat Each Other. Nash’s prose is stripped back and spare, but that arguably gives it even more power.
The characters in Nash’s stories, mostly women, live around the edges of society, dealing with sex, drugs, drink, mental health issues and relationships as best they can, in a world that seems set against them. There is much conflict here, both external and internal, as Nash’s central characters try to find some meaning in an apparently cruel world, and she is brave enough as a writer not to give them any easy answers.
These are short, sharp and sometimes shocking stories that nevertheless contain an emotional longing between the lines that is utterly convincing and completely engaging. There is darkness in Nash’s writing, but an undeniable emotional truth to her damaged and difficult collection of outsiders. Essential reading.
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