How to Bring Him Back
Published 8th October 2021
Novella: 72 pages
‘If I was going to cast a spell tonight, this night of a full arse moon, stark as a ten-day crust of snow, I’d start by telling the earth to spin in the opposite direction.
By what power?
By the power of my pen.’
It’s 90s Birmingham and Cait’s no longer at university, but her aspirations haven’t taken her far from her council estate beginnings. Living in a bedsit and working in a bar, she’s caught between two best friends: Stadd, who’s stable, funny, compatible as a friend, and her compulsive sexual attraction with Rik. Present day Cait picks up her pen, on her yearly writing retreat to the sea, and discovers she’s finally ready to conjure an absent Stadd with an apology that rises from the lessons of her chaotic past.
Enter the magic and order your copy from Fly on the Wall Press here.
Praise for Claire HM and HTBHB
“I bloody loved this story—unputdownable-read-in-one-sitting sort of love…The entire work is so rich for me. Location is used in subtle but effective ways—both in the present and in the flashback narrative of Birmingham—and the language is genuinely delicious (uncomfortable, at times, but delicious). I can’t find fault, truly.” – Dr Charley Barners, Writer-in-Residence @theswantheatre, host @DearOpenMic, editor @DearReaderPoet | director @SabotageReviews, lecturer @CpwWlv
“The main character is so real, the structure so satisfying. The prose as glittery and grubby as a 90s nightclub floor. Deeply admiring of this.” – Louise Finnigan, Manchester Fiction Prize finalist, Cambridge shortlist, Bristol Prize shortlist, author of ‘Muscle and Mouth’.
“Claire is a vivid and original storyteller… How to Bring Him Back’ is startling, sensory experience.” – Hannah Vincent, author of ‘Alarm Girl’ (Myriad) and ‘The Weaning’ (Salt).
“Claire HM’s writing arrests and astonishes, telling of a craft lovingly honed, that seeks innovative ways to dazzle her readers anew each time.” – Sascha A. Akhtar, author of ‘Of Necessity And Wanting’ (The 87 Press) and ‘The Whimsy of Dank Ju Ju’ (The Emma Press).
Cait’s been sitting on the floor of the bus shelter for an hour, and her arse feels as bitter and hard as the slabs underneath it. Stadd hasn’t been able to drag her onto any of the buses that have turned up since she’s been slumped here. But now, finally, her head is numb too. Turns out the cold wipes out indecision better than vodka.
She isn’t going to move.
A bus will only take her home. What’s that old bullshit proverb about hearts and homes? Well her heart’s so stuffed with shit, how is it even finding contraction enough to beat?
She watches Stadd lean his face towards the bus shelter wall, one hand spread on the timetable, the other still inside the pocket of his Crombie. She presses her cheek on the sleeve of her leather jacket. It’s raw with the cold air. Leather jackets – keep you sweaty in June, and glacial in December. What exactly is the fucking point of them?
Stadd turns to her, squeezes his shoulders to his ears, shudders.
“That was definitely the last bus, you know. We’ll have to get a cab.”
Yeah, she can do that. He doesn’t know her address so that’s safe. She won’t end up at home. She nods, lets him slide his hands underneath the armpits of her leather and hoist her up. Cait can make eight stone two very heavy indeed.
You can read another extract from How To Bring It Back here with thanks to Els from B for Bookreview.