A Trick I Learned from Dead Men
Author:Kitty Aldridge

A Trick I Learned from Dead Men - By Kitty Aldridge

About the Book

After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death. Here, in the company of a crooning ex-publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally-ill hearse driver, and the dead of their local town, old wounds begin to heal and love arrives as a beautiful florist aboard a ‘Fleurtations’ delivery van.

But death is closer than Lee Hart thinks. Somewhere among the quiet lanes and sleepy farms something else is waiting. And it is closing in. Don’t bring your work home with you, that’s what they say. Too late.

Sometimes sad, often hilarious and ultimately tragic and deeply moving, A Trick I Learned from Dead Men is a pitch perfect small masterpiece from a writer described by Richard Ford as having ‘a moral grasp upon life that is grave, knowing, melancholy, often extremely funny and ultimately optimistic’.


About the Author

Kitty Aldridge was born in the Middle East but grew up in England. A graduate of the Drama Centre, London, she has since worked in theatre, film, and television as an actress and writer. Her first novel, Pop (Cape, 2001), was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002 and shortlisted for the Pendleton May First Novel Award 2002. Her second novel, Cryers Hill, was published by Cape in 2007. Her short story, Arrivederci Les, won the Bridport Short Story Prize 2011 (Bridport Prize Anthology 2011).


Prologue



NEVER SAW IT coming. Not in a million. You don’t. The story fattened up in the retelling. They do. A shame, they said. A pity. It started with her, of course, that was the beginning. Then him that didn’t deserve it. Then it was the youngest. Or was it the eldest? Or both? None of us could explain it, not even me. I should know. I am the eldest. Or was. I have forgotten. That is to say I remember but I don’t look back. That is to say I look but I don’t dwell.

It was talked about. Still is. One of them was deaf or was he blind? Tragic, yes. This is how they talk. Of course, looking back you could see it coming, they say. The hand of fate, the finger of God, or was it the wheel of fortune?

Nice boys, they didn’t deserve it: this I have heard at the post office, the pub, Somerfield. And I have heard: They were strange. And also: They were perfectly normal. I’ve heard it all: They deserved it. It was foretold. And more.

Hard to recognise yourself in the tale they tell. This new folklore turns you and yours inside out till you can’t see what was once your own. Out of the mists stroll you, re-drawn. The new you is a fable, a warning. So our lives go. The trouble comes slowly at first. It always does. These things happen. C’est la vie.