Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

The Beautiful Indifference

Sarah Hall

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Faber and Faber

Published : 2012

Copyright : Sarah Hall 2012

ISBN-10 : PB 0-571-23018-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-571-23018-1

Publisher's Write-Up

The Beautiful Indifference is a collection of intensely erotic and disarming tales, which span centuries, contemporary life and the future, and evoke landscapes as diverse as London's metropolis and lake Vuotjrvi in the Finnish wilderness.

From the heathered fells and lowlands of Cumbria with their history of smouldering violence, to the speed and heat of summer London, to an eerily still lake in the Finnish wilderness, Sarah Hall evokes landscapes with extraordinary precision and grace. The characters within these territories are real-life survivors, but whether it's a frustrated housewife seeking extreme experience or a young woman contemplating the death of her lover, dark devices and desires rise to the surface. And the human body, too - flawed, visceral, and full of emotional conflict - provides a sensuous frame for each unfolding drama.

Uniquely disturbing and deeply erotic, this collection confirms Sarah Hall as one of the greatest writers of her generation.

The Beautiful Indifference includes Butcher's Perfume, which was short-listed for the BBC National Short Story Prize in 2010.

'Seven luscious, sensuous stories from one of our most talented writers, exploring the erotic, violent relationship between men and women in exquisite, painterly prose.'


'ensual and striking prose, Hall is at her best capturing wild landscapes.'


'These stories constantly thwart one's dramatic expectations - and are all the more dramatic for it... This prose, particularly when used to convey the bleakness of the Cumbrian landscape, is wonderful... She does darkness so very well.'

The Times
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Ben Macnair (010420) Rating (8/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Book Source: Not Known
Rating 8/10

The Beautiful Indifference is a collection of short stories, where place and time is as important as character or plot. Here are eight stories that fit well together, to form a cohesive collection that looks at the Human condition in all of its forms.

The stories are about friendships across the divide, or relationships that are in their final throes, or the travails of moving to a new place to start again. Most of the stories contain a twist at the end, which means that re-reading them prepares a completely different experience for the reader.

The opening, and longest story, Butcher’s Perfume looks at the friendship of two very different schoolgirls, and the influence that they have over each other’s lives. The writing and descriptions in this story are the most vivid, and the way in which the timid, and lonely narrator becomes firm friends with the bully, Manda Slessor, and her family, whose reputation precedes them is both believable and all too human.

The Beautiful Indifference looks at a relationship, on its last legs, as the narrator meets her much younger lover for what will be a last weekend. The Bees is a look at life in London, and how one friend can make all the difference, whilst The Agency looks a company providing a different type of companionship.

Sarah Hall earned her reputation as a writer with such novels as Haweswater, and The Electric Michelangelo, and The Beautiful Indifference can sit next to those two books, in terms of writing style, and characterisation, and moving story-telling. If you like quality short stories, this book should be carefully considered.
Ben Macnair (1st April 2020)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends