Not long before he died in May 2014, the poet John Hartley Williams gathered together a number of short fictions he had been writing over the years and to which he gave the collective name of “Abrasions.” Nine of these appear in the collection now published by Shoestring Press, with the poems he intended as interruptions to and accompaniments of the prose.
The qualities frequently remarked on in Williams’s poetry – the “one-off diction, the sly asides, the absurdist leaps”, in the words of one commentator, the “sheer inventiveness and wit of his narratives”, in those of another, the “beauty and dread, humour and high seriousness” noted by a third – are all in ample evidence throughout Boys on a Roof: Nine Abrasions, which carries an Introduction by Williams’s great friend and some time collaborator, Matthew Sweeney.
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