The Madonna of the Pool, a debut collection of short stories by Helen Stancey includes: Shall We Dance?, Sum Ergo Cogito, No. It’s better to arrive, and nine more richly poetic and entirely engaging stories.
The stories demonstrate an exquisite understanding of human adaptation, endurance and, most of all, optimism – exploring the triumphs, compromises and quiet disappointments of everyday life.
Drawing on a wide array of characters, Helen Stancey shows how small events, insignificant to some, can resonate deeply in the lives of others.
In Sum Ergo Cogito, Helen takes a look through the eyes of a woman struggling with dementia and her snapshots of clarity amid jumbled confusion.
‘Cogito ergo sum. I am, but where? I am my thoughts. I am wherever my thoughts are.
Not here. Not here.
What? Muttering? I am not muttering! Do I want something? Not anything you can give me. But you seem kind. Who are you? Nurse. A nurse. Really? Couldn’t you find a husband? You have a husband! So why are you a nurse? Oh, never mind, never mind. Would you be so kind as to help me up – this chair’s a little deep for my old bones. Would you? Just help me up then I can go home.
What? I am at home? No, no. Nonsense.’
In Shall We Dance? Helen explores the loss of a mother and the tears, love, and laughter left behind. You can read it here.
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Author of Words and Common Ground, Helen Stancey’s writing has been greeted with great critical acclaim:
‘In the poised assurance of its writing,… one has a sense of a writer gifted with an instinctive sense of how to tell a story.’ – SPECTATOR
‘writing so accomplished…’ – TABLET
‘palpable excellence’ – LITERARY REVIEW
Publishing Date: 27 July 2017