September 30th 2010
B format Paperback

You Don't Have to Say by Alan Beard

This is a writer who does amazing things with the fewest possible words.


These are society’s voiceless, given voice by their authors, who challenge us to look where we might have turned away [. . .] There are gems here. The best stories in the collection are those in which the action is all interior; whole worlds change, while outside someone is simply having a chat or lighting a fag.

Francesca Segal, Guardian

Alan Beard is the real thing – a writer with true talent and staying power and a dedication to the short story form. This marvellous new collection deserves a wide audience

David Almond

Mimetic prose, heartfelt compassion, razor-sharp observation. A conduit through which the real world passes on its way to the page, Alan Beard is a superb short story writer and here he is at the top of his game

Nicholas Royle

This is an excellent collection; an observational masterpiece. Like Carver, Beard is a true master of the form. He is a brilliant storyteller, capable of wrenching beauty from the unlikeliest of circumstances

The Short Review

Alan Beard’s eagerly anticipated second story collection shines a light into the dark recesses of inner-city life: a teenage gangster has an affair with his middle-aged teacher; an IT specialist feels an affinity for the man threatening to jump off his building; an ageing man, stabbed and left for dead in his hallway, contemplates his life and loves. You Don’t Have to Say is filled with slow-burning portraits of people caught in relationships going dangerously wrong, told with riveting authenticity and empathy. The stories reverberate with menace and flicker with an insistent sensuality.

Alan Beard’s debut Taking Doreen out of the Sky saw him hailed as an English Raymond Carver. In his follow-up, You Don’t Have to Say, he still focuses on the lives of the ‘Denises and Doreens, Barrys and Brians’, but this time with a darker awareness of the violent instincts in his marginalized characters.

Praise for Alan Beard:

Life observed with humour, compassion and an eye for the telling detail

David Lodge

Like Raymond Carver, Alan Beard takes the mundane detail of ordinary life in a contemporary city and invests it with universal currency

Times Literary Supplement

Moments caught on the wing and pinned down in fresh and original images . . . A writer of real talent and originality

London Magazine

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