Ian Ayris still has the capacity to surprise me with his work even though I’m fairly familiar with it and feel like I know where he’s coming from. Nothing about is writing is predictable and nobody else (to my knowledge) is writing anything quite like it.
I’ve loved his short stories and really liked Abide With Me; One Day In The Life (US) caps them all to my mind.
Jason Dean is a hard man and a bit of a thug who has started to reflect upon his life. He’s very well read after years of trying to better himself. On this particular day, he has a few jobs to do for his boss – a couple of money collections and a murder, which is the outline of the plot. However, you get so much more that plot from Ian. He quotes writers of great stature and then interprets them in a language that makes complete sense of the world, making literary wisdoms wonderfully accessible. He uses poetry to emphasise a point and then goes on to write phrases and paragraphs that are as profound as any poem.
This book’s beautiful. It’s tragic and moving and it’s very special indeed. Reading it has inspired me in some way, something relating to living and to writing I suspect.
The publishers proclaim this 'the Best Of British'; in this case, I'd say they're absolutely right to do so.