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A superb collection of stories from a prize-winning writer – some short, some long, set in locations that span the globe, all exploring the theme encapsulated by the title: tenderness.

A superb collection of stories from a prize-winning writer – some short, some long, set in locations that span the globe, all exploring the theme encapsulated by the title: tenderness.

Meet Sadie, the high-flying divorce lawyer who ends up putting marriages back together; the Ice Cream Girl, discovered in a superette and transplanted to Hollywood; the seven-year-old Prometheus, who faces death on a daily basis. With a mix of humour and compassion, each story carries the punch of a compacted novel, highlighting those illuminating moments of human connection.

Sarah Quigley has an impressive track-record as a fiction writer, and these stories will not disappoint. Stylistically assured, emotionally resonant, they are guaranteed to capture minds and hearts. Quigley has won numerous awards for her short fiction, including the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award and the Commonwealth Pacific Rim Short Story Award. Her best-selling novel, The Conductor, has sold throughout the world. It was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Femina.


The writing is restrained, dispassionate almost, but the narratives resonate with meaning and emotion. . . . There are moments of utter lyricism . . . The stories come with variations of style as well as emotion. Some step across swathes of space-time; some are like photo montages. They swoop from the mundane to the miraculous: a character semi-morphs into a hen or a gopher. Like a lot of good short fiction, they often imply more than they state. Bigger shapes are glimpsed in the background. They crackle with dialogue like a firefight, and moments of slyly mordant humour. Just when she wants to be at her most sophisticated, a girl is liable to end up wrist-deep in a bowl of raspberries. . . . Quigley provides a perceptive, often elegant report on human temperaments, and the universal longing for a little, well, tenderness.

David Hill, NZ Herald

Not a book to devour in one sitting but great to dip into and linger over each bite.

Australian Woman’s Weekly

Short stories do not usually hold the appeal for me that they do for others, but there is not one in this book that is not a treasure, whether it be because of her style of prose, her choice of topic or her acute observations of human nature. These are stories to be read again and again.

Margaret Reilly, Northern Advocate

. . . diversity and variety are key notes. One of Quigley's greatest strengths, on the evidence of the stories here, is the brittle wit, particularly when it comes to describing the fragility of modern relationships between the sexes and a certain familiar social set . . . This is a substantial and impressive collection from the writer of the widely launded The Conductor.

Paul Little, North & South

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 4, 2014

    RHNZ Vintage

    352 pages

    RRP $38.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook


    July 4, 2014

    Random House New Zealand

    352 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Also by Sarah Quigley

The Suicide Club
In the Palace Gardens
The Conductor


Fifty Shades Darker
The Handmaid's Tale
Uncommon Type
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Paris For One And Other Stories
The Girl on the Train
The Golden House
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
The Mistress
Men Without Women
Tiger Men
Amber and Alice
The Golden Age
A Long Way from Home
The Trip of a Lifetime