It's Beginning to Hurt by James Lasdun

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The stories in this remarkable collection—including “An Anxious Man,” winner of the National Short Story Prize (UK)—are vibrant and gripping. James Lasdun’s great gift is his unfailing psychological instinct for the vertiginous moments when the essence of a life discloses itself. With forensic skill he exposes his characters’ hidden desires and fears, drawing back the folds of their familiar self-delusions, their images of themselves, their habits and routines, to reveal their interior lives with brilliant clarity.


In sharply evoked settings that range from the wilds of Northern Greece to the beaches of

Cape Cod, these intensely dramatic tales chart the metamorphoses of their characters as they fall prey to the full range of human passions. They rise to unexpected heights of decency or stumble into comic or tragic folly. They throw themselves open to lust, longing, and paranoia—always recognizably mirrors of our own conflicted selves.


As James Wood has written, “James Lasdun seems to be one of the secret gardens of English writing . . . When we read him we know what language is for again.” This collection of haunting, richly humane pieces is further proof of the powers of an enormously inventive writer.


About James Lasdun

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James Lasdun's previous books include The Horned Man, named a New York Times Notable Book and The Economist Best Book of the Year. He teaches at Princeton University and lives in Shady, New York.
Published August 3, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 244 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for It's Beginning to Hurt

Kirkus Reviews

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“A Bourgeois Story” explores “the peculiar economy of…conscience,” as an unexpected reunion of college friends, one of whom has become a well-to-do lawyer while the other has turned increasingly radical, leaves the former as uncomfortable with his own life as he is with his one-time friend.

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The Guardian

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The title story itself, a gem of little more than 500 words, turns out to be a new version of a story previously told by the narrator of The Horned Man.

Mar 28 2009 | Read Full Review of It's Beginning to Hurt: Stories

The Bookbag

It's Beginning to Hurt is a collection of sixteen short stories, all bound together by the theme of hurt in various forms.

Apr 01 2010 | Read Full Review of It's Beginning to Hurt: Stories

Cathleen Medwick reviews Lowboy by John Wray, a breathtaking journey through the subway tunnels of Manhattan and the subterranean fantasies of a schizophrenic teen.

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Book Forum

In “An Anxious Man,” the first story in James Lasdun’s new collection, It’s Beginning to Hurt, the protagonist, who is vacationing on Cape Cod, grumbles self-consciously about the falling prices of his stocks: “Joseph felt the petulant note in his voice, told himself to shut up, and plunged on.” ...

Sep 07 2009 | Read Full Review of It's Beginning to Hurt: Stories

The Blurb

short story writer (with a story adapted for film by Bertolucci);

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