Dan Rhodes was born in 1972. He is the author of Anthropology, the novels Timoleon and Vieta Come Home and the recently- published Little Hands Clapping, and the story collection Don't Tell Me the Truth About Love, also published by Canongate. In 2003 he was named by Granta Magazine as one of their twenty Best of Young British Novelists. He lives in Edinburgh.

Short Story Collections

(Canongate, 2010 - first published 2000)

reviewed by Pauline Masurel

Don't Tell Me the Truth About Love

Interview with Dan Rhodes

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Dan Rhodes: Anthropology took about a year and a half.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

DR: Quite early on I decided to write 101 stories. I wanted it to be a book.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

DR: I wrote about twice as many as I needed, and kicked out the ones that for one reason or another didn't seem to be working. Sometimes I found myself approaching the same ground from two different directions, and had to choose my favourite. All the stories are in alphabetical order, but I would sometimes change a title if I thought it helped the flow of the book. For instance, I knew I wanted Words to be the final story so if one came along with a title that began with x, y or z I would have to rename it.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

DR: A bunch of imaginary people doing some stuff. If they do that stuff in a relatively short space then it's a short story. There are writers who see a big distinction between novels and short stories, but I'm not one of them. And there are even some people who say that the stories in Anthropology aren't stories - they can get stuffed.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

DR: With Anthropology I was only interested in writing for girls.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

DR: No. I hope people enjoy my stuff, but that's about as far as it goes.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

DR: Odd. I've had books out for ten years, and it still feels a bit unsettling - it's like you've invited a stranger to stare at you while you're having a shower. I would love to find out how I would feel if people were buying them in immense quantities.

TSR: What are you working on now?

DR: I recently finished a novel, Little Hands Clapping. It's just come out. I'm currently working on a cup of tea.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

DR: Rhapsody by Dorothy Edwards, for the third time. It's an overlooked masterpiece from 1927, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Please read it. Neverland by Simon Crump, which is another absolute winner (although I do think he should have called it a novel, to get it more sales and attention), and Fresh Apples by the brilliant Rachel Trezise.
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