The One That Got Away: Thirty Stories from Thirty Years

The first retrospective collection of Jan Mark’s short stories – available from

The collection comprises thirty stories – the contents of Nothing to Be Afraid Of (1980, Highly Commended for the Carnegie Medal), In Black and White (1991) and Eyes Wide Open (2003), as well as the two long stories in Hairs in the Palm of the Hand (1981), and four previously uncollected stories.

There are plenty of ghost stories, some even with elements of horror (such as ‘Who’s a Pretty Boy, Then?’). Numerous feature twins or doubles. Several of the stories are about gardens, though never as lush and vital as Jan’s own garden. You can see echoes of the novels, too – like the ‘Aunty’ who was ‘the kind of person who couldn’t manage without a handle to her name’ and time and again obsessions take over people’s lives, as they do in The Lady With Iron Bones, Worry Guts and Aquarius.

A masterful collection of short stories from an artist of her craft, The One That Got Away is the perfect teaching aide for classrooms, or simply a book to dip in and out of at leisure.