A L KENNEDY What Becomes

ISBN 13: 9780099494065

What Becomes

3.57 avg rating
( 225 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780099494065: What Becomes

Twice selected for Granta’s list of Best Young British Novelists, winner of the 2007 Costa Book Award for her acclaimed novel Day (“Day is a novel of extraordinary complexity”—The New York Review of Books), which was also chosen as one of New York magazine’s top ten books of the year—the internationally revered A. L. Kennedy returns with a story collection whose glorious wit and vitality make this a not-to-be-missed addition to the canon of one of our most formidable young writers.

No one captures the spirit of our times like A. L. Kennedy, with her dark humor, poignant hopefulness, and brilliant evocation of contemporary social and spiritual malaise. In the title story, a man abandons his indifferent wife and wanders into a small-town movie theater where he finds himself just as invisible as he was at home. In the masterfully comic “Saturday Teatime,” a woman trying to relax in a flotation tank is hijacked by memories of her past. In “Whole Family with Young Children Devastated,” a woman, inadvertently drawn into a stranger’s marital dysfunction, meditates on the failings of modern life as seen through late-night television and early-morning walks.

Powerful and funny, intimate and profound, the stories in What Becomes are further proof that Kennedy is one of the most dazzling and inventive writers of her generation.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

A. L. Kennedy has published six novels, two books of nonfiction, and three previous collections of short stories. She has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists and has won a number of prizes, including the Costa Book of the Year Award (2007), the Somerset Maugham Award, the Encore Award, and the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. She lives in Glasgow and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at the University St. Andrews.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

What Becomes
The cinema was tiny: twelve rows deep from the blacked-out wall and the shadowed doorway down to the empty screen, which had started to bother him now, a kind of hanging absence.

How did they make any money with a place this small? Even if it was packed?

Which it wasn’t. Quite the reverse. There was, in fact, no one else here. Boy at the door had to turn the lights on just for him, Frank feeling bad about this, thinking he shouldn’t insist on seeing a film all by himself and might as well go to the bigger space they kept upstairs which had a balcony and quite probably leg room and would be more in the way of a theatre and professional. In half an hour they’d be showing a comedy up there.

Or he could drive to a multiscreen effort: there’d been one in the last big town as he came round the coast—huge glass and metal tower, looked like a part of an airport: they’d have an audience, they’d have audiences to spare.

Although that was a guess and maybe the multiplex was empty, too. The bar, the stalls that sold reconstituted food, the toilets, the passageways, perhaps they were all deserted. Frank hoped so.

And he’d said nothing here as he’d taken back his torn stub and walked through the doorway, hadn’t apologised or shown uncertainty. He’d only stepped inside what seemed a quietly watchful space as the younger man drifted away and left him to it.

Four seats across and then the aisle and then another four and that was it. The room wasn’t much broader than his lounge and it put Frank in mind of a bus, some kind of wide, slow vehicle, sliding off towards destinations it left undisclosed.

He didn’t choose a seat immediately, wandering a little, liking the solitude, a whole cinema of his own—the kind of thing a child might imagine, might enjoy. He believed he would move around later if no one else appeared, run amok just a touch and leave his phone turned on so he could answer it if anybody called.

Then behind him there came a grumble of male conversation, a blurry complaint about the cold and then a burst of laughter and the noise of feet—heavy steps approaching and a softer type of scuffling that faded to silence. Frank was willing to be certain that Softer-foot was the kid from the door: lax posture and dirty Converse All Stars with uneven wear—product of a careless home, an unsupportive environment—probably he’d padded in behind Frank again for some reason and then headed out to the foyer—that’s how it sounded, but you never could tell.

At least one person was still there, still loitering, and for a moment this was almost unnerving. Frank being alone in a cinema, that was all right—alone in a muddle of people in a cinema, that was all right—just yourself and one other, two others, strangers at your back as the lights dim and the soundtrack starts to drown out everything—that might not be good. Silly to think that way, but he did.

For a moment.

Then he focused on being irritated, his nice privacy broken when it had extended so very far by now, right up to the black walls that melted when you studied them, disappeared down into the black carpet and left you adrift with nothing but the dull red shine of the seats and a sense of your skin, your movement, fidgets of life.

It was fine, though. Nobody joined him. The heavy steps withdrew, closed themselves up, Frank guessed, inside the projectionist’s box, accompanied by a ruminative laugh. After that a regular, clattering slap started up and he supposed this to be the sound of loose film at the end of a reel, but he couldn’t imagine why it was simply rattling round again and again.

He waited, the clatter persisting, his feet and fingers beginning to chill. One punter, apparently, didn’t merit heating. Even if it wasn’t logical to assume he’d be impervious.

He was still human and still here.

Little vents near the ceiling breathed and whispered occasionally, but that would be the wind outside disturbing them. The night was already roaring out there and set to turn worse, rain loping over the pavements, driven thick, and a bitterness underlying it that ached your teeth, your thinking. Warmth had drained from his shins where his trousers were soaked and the coat he was huddled into was only a fraction less damp.

Frank put on his hat.

The rattle of unattached film continued. And he believed he’d heard a chuckle, then a cough. Frank concentrated on his head which felt marginally warmer, because of the hat. Good hat: flat cap, proper tweed and not inexpensive. A man should have a hat, in his opinion. Beyond a certain age it will suit him and give him weight, become a welcome addition to his face, almost a trademark. People will look at his hat as it hangs on the back of a chair, or a coat hook, or rests on the edge of his desk and they will involuntarily assume—Frank’s here, then. That’s his hat. Frank’s old, familiar hat. Through time, there will be a small transfer of emotion and people who are fond of him will also like his hat, will see something in it: the mark of his atmosphere, his style: and they’ll be pleased.

His own transfers were largely negative. For example, he truly detested his travelling bag. This evening it would be waiting inside his hotel room, crouching by his bed like the guard dog in an unfamiliar house. It always was by his bed, no matter where he was sleeping, neatly packed for when he’d have to leave, fill it with his time and carry it the way he’d enjoy being carried, being lifted over every obstacle.

Never thought he would use it on his own account—the bag. Never thought he’d steal his days from everyone and run away.

Not his fault. He didn’t want this. She forced his hand.

He’d been in the kitchen, preparing soup. Each Friday he’d make them both a big vegetable soup: beans, leaves, potatoes, celery, lentils, tomatoes, bits of pasta, seasonal additions, the best of whatever he found available. Every week it would be slightly different—less cabbage, some butternut squash, more tamarind paste—but the soup itself would be a steady feature. If he was at home that evening he would cook. It would be for her. It would be what he quietly thought of as an offering—here I am and this is from me and a proof of me and a sign of reliable love. She could open some wine, maybe, and watch him slice: the way he rocked the knife, setting a comfy rhythm, and then the onions and garlic would go on the heat to soften and the whole house would start to smell domestic and comforting and he would smile at her, tuck his ingredients into the pan, all stripped and diced, and add good stock.

He’d been in the kitchen, slicing, no one to watch. French knives, he had, sharp ones, well balanced, strong, a pleasure to work with, and she’d been late home so he’d started off without her. The blade had slipped. With squash you’ve got to be careful because it’s always tough and can deflect you, slide you into an accident. But he hadn’t been paying attention and so he’d got what he deserved.

He’d been in the kitchen alone. Funny how he didn’t feel the pain until he saw the wound. Proximal phalanx, left ring finger, a gash that almost woke the bone. Blood.

He’d been in the kitchen and raised his hand, had made observations, considered his blood. It ran quickly to his wrist, gathered and then fell to the quarry tiles below, left large, symmetrically rounded drops indicative of low velocity and a perpendicular descent, and haloing every drop was a tiny flare of threads, of starring. The tiles were fairly smooth, but still confused his fluid into throwing out fine liquid spines. Glass would be better, holding his finger close over glass might give him perfect little circles: the blood, as it must, forming spheres when it left him and the width of each drop on impact being equal to each sphere’s diameter. You could count on that.

He’d been in the kitchen, being with the blood. He’d allowed the drops to concentrate at his feet, to pool and spatter, patterns complicating patterns, beginning to look like an almost significant loss. Twenty drops or so for every millilitre and telling the story of someone standing, wounded, but not too severely and neither struggling nor in flight.

He’d been in the kitchen and laid his own trail to the French windows. Tiny splashes hazed a power point in the skirting board, dirtying its little plastic cover—white, the kind of thing you fit to stop a child from putting its fingers where they shouldn’t be. No reason for the cover, of course, their household didn’t need it—protection from a hazard they couldn’t conjure, an impossibility.

He’d been in the kitchen marking the reflections with his blood. Then he’d paused for a few millilitres before he needed to swipe his whole arm back and forth in mid-air, blood hitting the dark glass of the doors in punctuated curves, the drops legging down before they dried, being distorted by motion, direction, gravity. He’d pumped his fist, then tried to cup his hand, catch some of his flow, then cast it off again, drive it over his ghost face and the night-time garden outside, the dim layers of wind-rocked shrubs, the scatter of drizzle, thinner and less interesting than blood. He’d thrown overarm, underarm, tried to get a kick out of his wrist until the hurt in his hand felt anxious, abused. Then he’d rubbed his knuckles wetly across his forehead before cradling them with his other palm, while his physiology performed as could be predicted, increased heart rate jerking out his loss, building up his body of evidence. Read the blood here and you’d see perhaps a blade that rose and fell, or the clash of victim and attacker: blows and fear...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

A. L. Kennedy
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2010)
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A.L. Kennedy s fifth collection of short stories show us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. Her characters are perfectly ordinary people - whose marriages founder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger or who order a luxurious meal as their lives fall apart - but the stories she weaves around them are truly remarkable. She reveals the sadness, violence, hurt and terror, but also the redemption and the love - and she does so with enormous human compassion and leaps of black humour. From the winner of the Costa Book Award for Day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099494065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.25
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

A. L. Kennedy
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2010)
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A.L. Kennedy s fifth collection of short stories show us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. Her characters are perfectly ordinary people - whose marriages founder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger or who order a luxurious meal as their lives fall apart - but the stories she weaves around them are truly remarkable. She reveals the sadness, violence, hurt and terror, but also the redemption and the love - and she does so with enormous human compassion and leaps of black humour. From the winner of the Costa Book Award for Day. Bookseller Inventory # APE9780099494065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.60
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

A. L. Kennedy
Published by Vintage (2010)
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Monster Bookshop
(Fleckney, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. BRAND NEW ** SUPER FAST SHIPPING FROM UK WAREHOUSE ** 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000191941

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
6.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 1.99
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Kennedy, A. L.
Published by Vintage (2010)
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Softcover Quantity Available: 5
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage, 2010. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. Offers a collection of short stories that show us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. This title reveals the sadness, violence, hurt and terror, and also the redemption and the love. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA; FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 15. Weight in Grams: 162. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099494065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
9.86
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Kennedy, A. L.
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Softcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
Kennys Bookstore
(Olney, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. Offers a collection of short stories that show us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. This title reveals the sadness, violence, hurt and terror, and also the redemption and the love. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA; FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 15. Weight in Grams: 162. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099494065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.09
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

A. L. Kennedy
Published by Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom (2010)
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A.L. Kennedy s fifth collection of short stories show us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. Her characters are perfectly ordinary people - whose marriages founder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger or who order a luxurious meal as their lives fall apart - but the stories she weaves around them are truly remarkable. She reveals the sadness, violence, hurt and terror, but also the redemption and the love - and she does so with enormous human compassion and leaps of black humour. From the winner of the Costa Book Award for Day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099494065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.16
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

A.L. Kennedy
Published by Vintage
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Paperback Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Vintage. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099494065

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
3.73
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 6.94
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Kennedy A. L.
Published by Random House
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Majestic Books
(London, ,, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Random House. Book Condition: New. pp. 224. Bookseller Inventory # 5551611

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
5.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 5.50
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

A L KENNEDY
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Speedy Hen LLC
(Sunrise, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # ST009949406X. Bookseller Inventory # ST009949406X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
10.90
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

A. L. Kennedy
ISBN 10: 009949406X ISBN 13: 9780099494065
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; A.L. Kennedy's fifth collection of short stories show us exactly what becomes of the broken-hearted. Her characters are perfectly ordinary people - whose marriages founder; who sit on their own in a cinema watching a film with no soundtrack; who risk sex in a hotel with an anonymous stranger or who. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099494065_rkm

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
7.74
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: 3.87
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book