“Jo Lloyd writes stories that have the epic sweep, sly humor, and cold, thrilling depths of Mavis Gallant and Jim Shepard, as well as an idiosyncratic brilliance that is hers alone. Her sentences could rouse the dead (and do, in this excellent book).” —Karen Russell, author of Orange World
In this debut collection of stories that delight in language and shine with wit, wisdom, and deep humanity, a vainglorious mine owner dreams of harnessing all of nature to the machinery of commerce. Two women hunt rare butterflies in a pre-First World War landscape already experiencing the first bites of biodiversity loss. A young man tracks down the father who abandoned him inside a festival exhibit. A rural Welsh community is fascinated and angered by glimpses of its invisible, wealthy neighbors. Whether seeking knowledge, riches, or a better life, the characters in Something Wonderful are united by a quest for lasting value, as they ask how we should treat our world, our work, our selves, and each other in both past and present.
Clear-sighted and lyrical, compassionate, and full of truth, this debut collection from Jo Lloyd, winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, announces a remarkable new voice with a sensibility all her own.
“Compelling. . . . Lloyd’s crisp prose rings clear throughout.”
“Jo Lloyd has drawn out all the intensity and latent power of short fiction. All her effects are earned, and she writes with the assurance of an original mind. Line by line, her judgment is impeccable, and the whole has a substance and finesse that marks a major talent.”
—Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall trilogy
“Something Wonderful is a wonder, and establishes Jo Lloyd as one of the best short story writers around. Each story here is a richly imagined universe, full of lush detail, human wisdom, and both humor and devastation. She bends space and time, leaping through generations in a few pages, or making a single interaction echo through a lifetime. This is an entertaining, masterful collection from a writer with awe-inspiring range.”
—Caitlin Horrocks, author of Life Among the Terranauts
“A language unsettling and of terrible beauty. These stories are startling and wise, all-knowing and versed in the infinite variation of human folly.”
—Matthew Neill Null, author of Allegheny Front
“Lloyd’s writing is deft at finding new ideas in eras past and making the contemporary seem timeless. And her language lends these stories physical depth that’s rare—descriptions aren’t just set dressing, a table here, a chair over there, but instead give heft, the weight of reality, to the characters feeling out their place in their worlds. This book shelves nicely in with the lineage of British writers who explore the quotidian with depth and range in order to discover the wondrous and strange at the edges of the day to day.”
—Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company