The White Road and Other Stories

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Salt, 2008 - Fiction - 136 pages
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What links a café in Antarctica, a factory for producing electronic tracking tags and a casino where gamblers can wager their shoes? They're among the multiple venues where award-winning writer Tania Hershman sets her unique tales in this spellbinding debut collection. Fleeing from tragedy, a bereaved mother opens a cafe on the road to the South Pole. A town which has always suffered extreme cold enjoys sudden warmth. A stranger starts plaiting a young woman's hair. A rabbi comes face to face with an angel in a car park. An elderly woman explains to her young carer what pregnancy used to mean before science took over. A middle-aged housewife overcomes a fear of technology to save her best friend. A desperate childless woman resorts to extreme measures to adopt. A young man's potential is instantly snuffed out by Nature's whims. A lonely widow bakes cakes in the shape of test tubes and DNA.A number of these stories are inspired by articles from science magazines, taking fact as their starting points and wondering what might happen if . . .? In these surreal, lyrical stories, many of which are only a few pages long, Tania Hershman allows her imagination free reign, as her characters navigate through love, death, friendship, spirituality, mental illness and the havoc wreaked by the weather.

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The White Road
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About the author (2008)

Meeting Tania Hershman, many people find it hard to believe that she studied Maths and Physics rather than English at University. But Tania is just as happy discussing electrons, protons, quarks and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle as she is chatting about the latest short story collections being published. When she began her University studies, Tania assumed she was heading towards a career in the lab. But, after proving to be hopeless at experiments – and finding reporting for the college newspaper far more enjoyable – it became clear that writing was Tania's true calling. Science journalism was the natural next step. After moving to Jerusalem, Israel, in 1994, “just as peace looked like it was breaking out”, for 13 years she reported on Israeli scientific and technological innovations for English-language journals in Israel, the UK and America. “Everyone I met was excited and optimistic; they thought they were going to change the world,” Tania says. “Some, like ICQ, who invented instant messaging, actually did!”However interesting she found her work, journalism wasn't the kind of writing Tania really wanted to be doing. Over time, she returned to her first love, fiction, and began writing short stories and attending fiction workshops in the US and the UK. In 2003, she returned to England to study for an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and realised that there was no looking back. The selection of her short story, The White Road, for broadcast on BBC Radio 4 gave Tania the impetus she needed to take herself seriously as a writer. She set up a writing group in Israel, joined several online communities, and began writing regularly and submitting her stories to competitions, literary journals and websites. After a number of her stories were published, and she won and was shortlisted for several contests, Tania decided the time had come to change her business card from “journalist” to “writer”. She printed new cards, redesigned her website, and began to do, full-time, what she had wanted to do since she was 6. “I couldn't be happier,” she says.After her first collection was accepted by Salt Publishing, Tania looked around for possible opportunities for reviews, and saw to her dismay that short story collections get far less attention than novels. She decided to do her part to redress the balance. In November 2007 she founded The Short Review, a website dedicated to reviewing short story collections and anthologies. The positive response to her initiative was overwhelming, and Tania now has thirty reviewers covering as wide variety of genres as possible for the monthly publication. “I am not trying to sell books, just attempting to help people find something to read – and making sure that short stories are part of that ‘something'!” The site gets hundreds of hits every week.Minmizing harm to the environment is very important to Tania and her partner, James, who try to live a “green” lifestyle. Tania was concerned about the impact of her own collection, so she is thrilled to be partnering with Eco-Libris, a company who offer readers a way to “balance out” the destruction of the trees to make the books on their shelves. Eco-Libris will plant a tree for every copy of Tania's book that is printed. Tania's newest love is flash fiction – very short stories, under 500 words – and she is now working on her second collection, of short short stories.

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