‘Dealing in Fictions’ by Christopher Burns

Two of the stories in Christopher Burns’s excellent collection About the Body (Secker & Warburg, 1988) appeared first in London Magazine. ‘Dealing in Fictions’ was the first of them chronologically, although it comes last in the book, which makes sense, because of its extraordinary explosive power. There’s a jolting shift of point of view, which is totally justified, coming at a pivotal moment when, like in Burns’s recent Nightjar Press publication ‘The Numbers’, everything changes. I don’t understand why Burns is not winning the accolades and prizes that some of his contemporaries, like Julian Barnes or Ian McEwan or Graham Swift, have been enjoying. At the very least, there should be a second collection to gather up some of the excellent short fiction he has published since 1988 including, for instance, one of my all-time favourite stories, ‘Nitrate’, which appeared in Shorts: New Writing From Granta Books in 1998.

(London Magazine, August/September 1985)