Ten women, all called Claire, are tangled up in complex power dynamics with their families, friends, and lovers. Though all are different ages, and leading different lives, each is haunted by the difficulty of living on her own terms, and by her capacity to harm and be harmed.
Claire is a teenaged babysitter left alone with a strange little girl and her imaginary friend. She is a woman trying to escape her elderly mother by employing an android carer. Claire is a young TV journalist wrecking her first big interview. Claire’s boyfriend discovers more than he bargains for when he begins to read her diary.
And no matter her age or background, Claire is living in the shadow of a monstrous mother.
With startling insight and understanding, Frances Leviston offers a frighteningly perceptive slice of contemporary womanhood. In forensic, indelible prose that is often bleakly funny, The Voice in My Ear reveals a brilliant new voice in fiction – and invites us to consider our own place in the relationships that define us.
Frances Leviston is the author of two collections of poetry: Public Dream, shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Jerwood-Aldeburgh First Collection Prize; and Disinformation, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the BBC Short Story Award. She lives in Durham and is a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Manchester.
Read: A Source, Granta
Review: The Voice in My Ear by Frances Leviston review – sly, truthful stories, The Guardian
Prompt: Make a list of ten things you don’t like – words, food, people, and so on. Now use this as a starting point to write the beginning of a story incorporating items on your list. Write freely for 10 mins.