A World Beyond Cardboard

A World Beyond Cardboard

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Author: Jonathan Cardew

Publisher: ELJ Edtions (2022)

A gang of beached octopuses, a flat stripped bare, a dead husband appearing in condensation, a sip of Soju and a secret, an egg boiling in a pan…

A World Beyond Cardboard collects twelve of Jonathan Cardew’s award-winning micro stories, each investigating a character or characters at crisis points, in worlds at once familiar and in the end very strange.

With his minimal, rhythmical prose style, Cardew cracks open narratives at crucial moments, diving into the fissures and frustrations of ordinary life, exposing the unknown and the unseen.

"These stories brim with invention and play, with a sly and unprepossessing humor. This is a writer who can be wistful, light, lustful and liminal all within the same story. A wondrous, expansive voice in the lit world."

–Robert Vaughan

"Jonathan Cardew’s crisp and humane stories shine by making space: the unhanging of a picture, an impression left on glass. A World Beyond Cardboard is as vulnerable as it is charming."

–Jennifer Howard

"Jonathan Cardew writes clipped, lean sentences of the kind that would have left Gordon Lish out of a job. As well as the hints of menace, there is absurdity here, and on every page something unexpected startles—a flourish, or a narrative leap. Lovers interact uneasily, as if something is about to erupt. Children grapple with the confusion of odd, unsettling families. Cardew’s playfulness and precision shines through. This is a remarkable collection—it grabs the attention and only gets better with each re-reading."

–Michael Loveday