The Voice in My Ear by Frances Leviston

The Voice in My Ear is a collection of stories about ten women called Claire, all with different ages and relationships. The stories are all distinct, but also have connecting themes (and the connecting name) which make it the kind of story collection that feels like a complete whole rather than stories put together. Relationships and mothers recur throughout the stories, which are mostly slices of contemporary life (though there is one about an android).

Some of the stories feel more like snapshots that separate stories, and generally the collection feels like you are moving between each Claire rather than having distinct start and end points for each. The writing draws you in and is easily readable, and the stories offer a sometimes bleak and unsettling look at different women’s lives. From the blurb I had expected more of a connection, or maybe more of a sense of an overall meaning or resolution, but if you go in expecting slightly linked short stories it’ll make more sense.