Longlisted for the Edge Hill Prize, 2017
‘Jo Mazelis knows that a riddling strangeness can yield its secret life to a story. The tales in this strong, pleasing, third collection hold and are transformed by that power.’ – Planet
What are little girls made of? What will they become? Will they run away to the circus or become dressmakers, teachers or servants? From the playground to adulthood the path is beset with misunderstandings, missed dates and hidden traps for the unwary.
This darkly gothic collection of stories explores the unsettling borderland between reality and the supernatural. Ranging from early twentieth-century France to 1960s South Wales and contemporary Europe, Jo Mazelis’ singular vision and poetic language creates characters caught up in events and feelings they do not fully understand or control, giving the book its uncanny focus. Not all is as it seems in a world where first impressions may only conceal disguises and false trails - and there's no going back.
A thrilling third collection from the author of Jerwood Award winning novel Significance.
‘With prose that is as beautiful and harsh as her stories, Jo Mazelis has produced a string of tales full of yearning and loss... But there’s nothing wistful about Ritual 1969: the writing is precision-modulated, witty, barbed. It’s as refreshing as a cold shower, and uplifting as a levitation.’
– Marina Benjamin, author of The Middlepause
‘Ritual, 1969 is an unapologetically feminist work that relays the pitfalls of a troubled journey from school to womanhood with considerable depth and artistry. Mazelis writes in the tradition of Woolf, Plath and Carter, and does not feel out of place in their company. Like those writers she takes apparently mundane, everyday dramas and reveals them to be extraordinary and defining moments in an individual's lifetime.’
– John Lavin, The Lonely Crowd, Wales Arts Review
‘In this fine collection, Jo Mazelis proves herself mistress of the short story form. A selection of unflinching stories move across time and landscape, linked by the revealing details of human behaviour, the voices of the unloved and an unsettling imagination. Haunting, beautifully crafted fictions.’
– Cathy Galvin, Director, www.thewordfactory.tv