The One with The Sense of Place:
I could have chosen just about any story from Daisy Johnson’s magnificent debut collection ‘Fen’ and it would be a textbook example of How Your Short Stories Should Have a Sense of Place, but this one is (just about) my favourite.
Three women (Vampires? Monsters?) flee Paris and move into a wrecked house out on the fens, where they start seducing and eating the local men. But it turns out that ‘fen men were not the same as the men we’d had before. They lingered in you…’
Johnson’s story (and the others in the collection) is full of tastes and smells, of earth and dirt and meat, of land and weather and sex. There are echoes of Angela Carter, and Dylan Thomas’s gloriously ripe early short stories, but Johnson is already very much her own writer.
And she writes landscape and place as well as, if not better than, just about anybody.
(In Fen, Jonathan Cape 2016)