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Fiction Historical

As Little As Nothing

A Novel

by (author) Pamela Mulloy

Publisher
ECW Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Category
Historical, Literary, Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781770416369
    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
    $22.95
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781778520082
    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
    $12.99

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Description

 

On the eve of the Second World War outside a village in England, four people are connected by an airplane crash that changes their lives forever

In the tumultuous year before war breaks out, a plane crashes on a country lane and four people are brought together in the aftermath. Miriam is recovering from another miscarriage and learns to fly as an escape from the disappointments in her life. Audrey is a middle-aged, upper-class activist who has shunned her society, travels the UK lecturing on reproductive rights, lives in a Reading caravan, and whose daily ritual includes a swim in a nearby river.

It is Audrey’s nephew, Frank, who teaches Miriam to fly. A club foot and his suppressed homosexuality have made him reluctant to engage with anyone other than his aunt. But as he succumbs to his attraction to the crashed pilot and convinces Miriam to co-pilot an air race from London to Manchester, and as Audrey confronts her past, ghosts must be laid to rest.

With the war looming, As Little As Nothing beautifully explores resilience, the strength of new bonds, and the various ways we reinvent ourselves.

 

About the author

Pamela Mulloy's short fiction has been published in the UK and Canada, most recently in Polish(ed) (Guernica, 2017), an anthology of Polish–Canadian writing. She is the editor of The New Quarterly. Pamela Mulloy grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick and now lives in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and daughter

Pamela Mulloy's profile page

Excerpt: As Little As Nothing: A Novel (by (author) Pamela Mulloy)

 

Miriam knew she needed to fly when she lost her fifth baby. Those luminous nights, the pearl moon casting shadows across the village as she took flight; her arms spread, her body soaring, undulating through the air currents as she went higher. Higher so that she could no longer see the village, and the space in which she existed seemed at once foreign and yet her own. This was her nightly journey, the one that might save her. For seven nights she existed in this liminal space, anchored to her bed, anchored to the idea that there was another Miriam who had overtaken her, one who existed in the bed of clouds that blindfolded the moon.

It was on the eighth morning that she heard the airplane she knew to be in trouble. Roused from a morning nap, the sound familiar living so close to the airfield at Hackley Aerodrome and Flying School. They’d become accustomed to the planes, but this sputtering was new and it pulled her, still weak from the blood loss, from her bed. She grasped the heavy drapery that kept her room as night and squinted at the intruding light. She opened the window, surprised at the soft, balmy air and looked skyward for the airplane that now seemed elusive. There it was, a choking sound that told her it was still up there somewhere.

She reached for a dress from the wardrobe and was soon clothed, the first time in over a week. She barely knew where she was going as she stumbled down the stairs and outside to her bicycle.

She was sore, and stiff, and in a weakened state but the sun was out and this surprised her so much that it was enough to keep her moving, and soon she was out on the road, right onto the High Street, then left on the Guildford Road that took her out of town in the direction of the aerodrome. Out in the open she looked ahead, scouring the sky for any sight of the plane and spotted it ahead, teetering eastward. She pedalled toward it, trying to calculate where it might come down.

***

“It’s coming,” she’d told Edmund, a month ago when she was still able to take in the world around her. “War. What we hear is only a fraction of what they know.” The chatter in the village like constant static.

“It won’t come to that, love,” Edmund so sure, as if he had a direct line to those in power.

***

After five minutes, she spotted a stile where she sat after leaning her bicycle into the hedge. What would Edmund think of her, out roaming the countryside like this? A week of nursing her back to health only to lose her to a failing airplane.

The airplane.

The quiet meant the engine was no longer running.

 

Editorial Reviews

 

“A buoyant and affecting portrait of four disparate souls striving to become their true selves on the cusp of major social change.” — Kathleen Winter, author of Undersong

“With intimacy, acuity, and grace, Pamela Mulloy captures the complex inner lives of her characters, who yearn to become themselves as England lurches into war. Soaring and kaleidoscopic, As Little As Nothing is both a beautiful evocation of the past and a novel for our times — a clarion call for the right of women everywhere to choose their own destiny.” — Jack Wang, author of We Two Alone

 

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