The Cartography of Others

Unbound Books UK 2018

Grand Prize Eyelands International Book Awards 2018 (Greece)

Best of 2018 Books, The Literary Sofa (UK)

Books of the Year 2018, The Lonely Crowd (UK)

‘Pia Tortora’ – Finalist, Royal Academy/Pin Drop Award

‘The Wild Beasts of the Earth Will Adore Him’ – Finalist, Kingston Writing School/Hilary Mantel International Short Story Competition

‘Adieu, Mon Doux Rivage’, Finalist, Short Fiction Prize

‘The Cliffs of Bandiagara’, Finalist, International Willesden Herald Short Story Prize

‘Magaly Park’, Pushcart nomination, Labello Press

‘Enfolded’, Finalist, Love on the Road Competition, Liberties Press

‘The Kingdom of Fassa’, Story of the Month, Seren Press

‘They Came from the East’, First Prize Flash Fiction Competition TSS

A collection of twenty award-winning short stories that explore the beckoning terrain of the body, the alluring otherness of place.

 A Japanese soprano sets sail for arid, haunted Corsica where she seeks her lost voice. A nude woman at the window of a Hong Kong hotel watches her lover dine in an adjacent building, but is her desire faltering? With a young son and her photographer partner, a journalist traverses sparse, mystical Mali to interview an irascible musician. A son relives his mother’s last hours before a hiking accident in the Italian Dolomites, while in London a grieving family takes in an ex-soldier from the Balkan wars, unaware of the man’s demons.

 The Cartography of Others takes us from fumy Accra to suburban Sydney, from scruffy Paris to pre-fundamentalist Mali. Each bewitchingly recounted story conveys a location as vital as the fitful, contemplative characters themselves. Lives are mapped, unpicked, crafted.

McNamara’s work has a fierce, vital beat, her stories robust yet finely-worked, her voice striking in its confidence and originality. She writes with sensuous precision and a craft that is equally precise. This is fiction that can stand up in any company. 

Hilary Mantel

Catherine McNamara's haunting stories map landmarks of psychological encounter. Hers is an international canvas, marking the points where contemporary lives cross with sensuality and finesse. Beautiful work.

Cathy Galvin

 An enchanting smorgasbord of addictive stories. These beautifully sensual tales linger. Catherine McNamara’s writing is vital and insightful.

Irenosen Okojie

McNamara does things with words (most) other writers cannot. Her stories are sensual and assured. Not a writer to be ignored.

Tom Vowler 

Catherine McNamara's writing is superb, this latest collection presents a unique way to talk about displacement and sensuality.

Eric Akoto, Editor-in-Chief, Litro Magazine, UK & USA

 A master of mood and atmosphere, Catherine McNamara has a keen eye for the startling image that so often holds the heart of a story – a blue tent the morning after a party, a naked woman spreading herself across a window high above Hong Kong. Her theme is desire - its ambiguities, betrayals, bruises, and joys - and this is fearless, sensuous writing. Her prose is meticulous, the stories rich with insight and empathy. Highly recommended.

Annemarie Neary

There is a savage wildness to McNamara’s The Cartography of Others, no matter the exotic location or how civilized her characters appear to be. A seething primal undercurrent that is both sensuous and violent runs through her language, generating little shocks in the reader. These shocks are delicious. There is a hidden delicatessen of shocks in these short stories, offering portions designed to keep us sated but hungry for more.

Haley Jenkins, Selcouth Station 

The backdrops are real and effectively drawn but it is in charting the contours of the human condition that McNamara succeeds with skilful interpretation. McNamara has a proclivity in taking readers to the wrong side of town, where dialogue is often snared by cultural and societal division. She seems not to consider our differences so easily erased. The concept of “foreign” is impressed as a real entity in a seemingly shrinking world.

The Cartography of Others.. is an atlas of distances and bridges between us.

David Stewart, Litro UK

These are beautifully constructed stories, the language lyrical and poetic yet still authentic and real.

Tracy Fells, The Literary Pig Blog

The Cartography of Others – a quite brilliant collection of short stories

Trip Fiction

Such beauty and tragedies have coursed through my veins on my journey in this book.

Alison Cook, Reader Goodreads

Pelt and Other Stories

Indigo Dreams 2013

Semi-Finalist, Hudson Prize (USA)

Longlisted, Frank O’Connor Short Story Award 2014 (Ireland)

Lust and dirt from a world of places.

Two foolhardy snowboarders challenge the savagery of mountain weather in the Dolomites. A Ghanaian woman strokes across a hotel pool in the tropics, flaunting her pregnant belly before her lover’s discarded wife. A sex-worker is enlisted to care for her Italian lover’s elderly parents. And in Berlin, a woman visits her brother and his partner for the very last time. Pelt and Other Stories lingers on the cusp between Europe and Africa, between ancient sentiments and modern disquiet.

Every story in this collection is a delightful surprise. McNamara’s lucid prose shines on every page, creating stories that are both difficult to put down, and unforgettable.

Chika Unigwe

I opened the book and found myself lost within an in-depth exploration of humankind that didn’t sweeten the reality of the world, but instead showed the true nature of humans.

Sabotage Reviews

I read Catherine McNamara’s work once, twice, then tree times and it gets even better with each read. Her words are deft and swift, yet have such weight.

Rosa Rankin-Gee

Her prose is at once lyrical and staccato, not distracted so much as ambitious – constantly moving forward.

Her Royal Majesty Review, Paris