The Body in the Mobile Library by Peter Bradshaw - review by Tommy Gilhooly

Tommy Gilhooly

Your Passcode or Your Life

The Body in the Mobile Library


Lightning Books 224pp £9.99

Peter Bradshaw is best known as the film critic of The Guardian and this is certainly the short-story collection of a cinephile. Observe a simile in ‘Palm to Palm’, recounting a date that turns into a failed chiromancy session: ‘His memory of his mother, which for decades had been a soft blur, like Super-8 footage out of focus, snapped into sharp focus.’ Yet for all the cinematic language, Bradshaw’s short stories range well beyond film. In ‘Reunion’, a man at a corporate cocktail party is reunited with a woman he believes to be his childhood sweetheart. A lovely three-word twist unsettles established identities and delivers a pleasurably uncanny shudder. 

Past-their-prime male figures are frequently victims of macabre ends. ‘Ghosting’ takes on the buzzword of internet dating slang, with the ‘ghoster’, in a wicked contrapasso, becoming a ghost. And in ‘Senior Moment’, a father of the bride with dementia struggles to recall his middle name. The story reads like a

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