‘You’ by Alice Ash

Alice Ash in many ways reminds me of Shirley Jackson, except that within the landscapes of horror, Ash investigates the surrealness and mundanity of living life in the margins. Ash’s collection Paradise Block is all set around the same housing estate, and characters recur and connect throughout. ‘You’ plays with the reader in the opposite way to the way Jackson’s ‘The Witch’ does. In it a woman goes to a nightclub after a break-up. The narrator is funny and playful, but the reader begins to expect the very worst when she goes home with a man after a night out, who she hopes will be ‘you’ and instead is confronted with the abject loneliness of looking for love. Ash conveys, like Ross, a very human moment that so many of us will relate to.

Published in Paradise Block, Serpent’s Tail, 2021