Thomas Morris joined UEA from a first degree at Trinity College, Dublin, and was later the editor of The Stinging Fly and a Tramp Press anthology of stories written to mark the centenary of Joyce’s Dubliners, so it’s easy to forget he’s a native Welsh speaker from Caerphilly, where each of this debut collection of stories is set. I remember ‘Bolt’ from one of our early workshops. It has what my former colleague Patricia Duncker called “the linger factor”. The white horse that bolts through the town and is caught when it stops at some traffic lights is merely a passing detail, told at second-hand, but is somehow still at large in my imagination, as is Andy, who works in a failing video store and lodges with a former girlfriend’s mum and has an affair with the town’s sole psychiatrist – also old enough to be his mum – but shrugs off any invitation to talk about his own mum, who is absent yet everywhere present in this story. It’s poignant, and funny, and true, like each of the other stories in the collection.
In We Don’t Know What We’re Doing, Faber & Faber, 2015