This first collection of short stories by Adam Thorpe is linked by a theme seldom visited by writers: work. Work as primary obsession - as something that both destroys and defines, liberates and enslaves. Whether through the eyes of a dustman or a saleswoman, a glass engraver or an assembly-line worker, a tyre mechanic in wartime France or a sawmill manager in colonial West Africa, the job and the life are seen as inseparable. What we do blurs into what we are.
'A first-class book. Shifts is one of the most satisfying collections of stories I have read in a long time... It is not just the quality, but the consistency of the writing that marks this out from other collections of stories'
David Robson, Sunday Telegraph
'Thorpe brings to bear a subtle imagination and an intensity of empathy that even Woolf might have been proud of'
Jane Shilling, The Times
'These very different narratives all exhibit Thorpe's most striking quality as a writer: his consummate skill at holding distinctive voices... In Adam Thorpe's hands, even shifts as mundane as a tyre mechanic's resound with the authentic joys and pains of vital, private lives'
James Urquhart, Independent on Sunday
'Meticulous ... really impressive'
Stephanie Merritt, Observer