by Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes
In the refugee camp known as The Jungle, an illusion is being disrupted: that of a neatly ordered world, with those deserving safety and comfort separated from those who need to be kept out.
Calais is a border town. Between France and Britain. Between us and them. The eight short stories in this collection explore the refugee crisis through fiction. They give voice to the hopes and fears of both sides. Dlo and Jan break into refrigerated trucks bound for the UK. Marjorie, a volunteer, is happy to mingle in the camps until her niece goes a step too far. Mariam lies to her mother back home. With humour, insight and empathy, breach tackles an issue that we can no longer ignore.
In breach, the authors beautifully capture a multiplicity of voices – refugees, volunteers, angry citizens – whilst deftly charting a clear narrative path through it all. Each story is different in tone, and yet they complement one another perfectly. Taken as a whole, this stands as an empathetic and probing collage, where the words ‘home’, ‘displacement’ and ‘integration’ come to mean many things as the collection progresses to a moving finale.
160pp, paperback with flaps, £12
Publication date: 1 August 2016
Press & Reviews
‘This is what fiction is for. These stories refresh difficult territory in ways that other writing cannot reach. Tender, tragic, funny (sometimes), persuasive.’ Sara Maitland
'This is fine, suspenseful fiction springing from human lives in extremis...it possesses a timeless quality, despite its obvious timeliness.' Kapka Kassabova, The Guardian
'One might worry that in a work commissioned to address topical concerns, craft and artistry might suffer. Breach will put those fears to rest from page one. Line for line, paragraph for paragraph the writing is detailed yet spare, with arresting images.' Margaret Luongo, Consequence Magazine
'An illuminating collection. These stories challenge the reader to navigate the political and moral greyness of the new frontier that is the migrants' camp, where there is much desperation but no shortage of life's simple moments of wonder and surprise, humour and camaraderie.' Brian Chikwava
'A compelling collection, whose power lies in the layering and intersecting of these stories, which capture frustration and determination, hopelessness and hope.' Alison Moore