Furnace by Wayne Price
In his debut collection of short stories, Price has done the paring down already. Not even a foreword makes it in. The stories are raw and precise, and each one ends before you can get bored with overhearing the evidence of his viewpoint characters. What makes the characters interesting is the author's keen eye for how people behave when they think no one is watching. None of them are anything out of the ordinary, but Price has a rare gift for a sort of poetic framing narrative.
His focus changes nicely as well, from an access weekend where the child is more like the parent, to a brief desperate adventure in Morocco where a reckless hiker finds out his guide knows who Brian Clough was. The effect in each story is a patchwork of word sketches, layered to give you the impression of a single crisis, with The Wedding Flowers being a particular highlight. These are extremely confident short stories, which somehow suggest that the author may reach a higher peak if he writes in a longer form, like the novel. Price was been awarded a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award 2010/11, and you can see why.