A Most Anticipated Book of August at The Millions
From the Winner of the BBC National Short Story Award
“Jo Lloyd has drawn out all the intensity and latent power of short fiction. . . . A major talent.” —Hilary Mantel
“Her sentences could rouse the dead (and do, in this excellent book).” —Karen Russell
In Something Wonderful, prize-winning author Jo Lloyd has crafted nine stories that delight in language and shine with wit, wisdom, and deep humanity. Whether seeking knowledge, riches, or a better life, the characters in this debut collection are united by a quest for lasting value, as they ask how we should treat our world, our work, our selves, and each other in both past and present. A vainglorious mine owner dreams of harnessing all of nature to the machinery of commerce. Two women hunt rare butterflies in a pre-First World War landscape already experiencing the first bites of biodiversity loss. A young man tracks down the father who abandoned him inside a festival exhibit. A rural Welsh community is fascinated and angered by glimpses of its invisible, wealthy neighbors.
Clear-sighted and lyrical, compassionate, and full of truth, Something Wonderful from Jo Lloyd, winner of the BBC National Short Story Award, announces a remarkable new voice with a sensibility all her own.
About the Author
Jo Lloyd won the BBC National Short Story Award in 2019 and an O. Henry Prize in 2018. Her stories have appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. Something Wonderful is her debut collection. She grew up in South Wales, where she now lives.
[Characters] delivered in scenes so intimate and thoughtful they’re almost cinematic.
— The New York Times Book Review
Entrancing. . . . rich and stylistically diverse. . . . Lloyd’s most valuable gift [is]an ability to travel seamlessly wherever she wishes, her agile eye confidently guiding her characters—and her readers—as they chase the almost tangible hope that something wonderful lies ahead.
— Los Angeles Review of Books
Jo Lloyd has drawn out all the intensity and latent power of short fiction. All her effects are earned, and she writes with the assurance of an original mind. Line by line, her judgment is impeccable, and the whole has a substance and finesse that marks a major talent.
— Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall trilogy
Each story displays an incredible breadth, variety, and singularity that has made her one of the most exciting names in short fiction in recent memory.
— The Rumpus
Impressive. . . . Something Wonderful ripples with intelligence and heart.
Compelling. . . . Lloyd’s crisp prose rings clear throughout.
— The Guardian
Lloyd's impeccable scene-setting often leans toward the gothic and fairytale-esque, in order to bring a sense of wonder to each piece.
— Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
The author shows a knack for stretching each germ of a story into a miniature epic. Lloyd’s singular talent is on full display.
— Publishers Weekly
The short stories collected in Jo Lloyd’s Something Wonderful are luminous, startling, and diverse. . . . [they] capture telling details in a unique, powerful voice.
— Foreword Reviews
An extraordinary collection from a writer of rare calibre and sensibility.
— The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
Something Wonderful is a wonder, and establishes Jo Lloyd as one of the best short story writers around. Each story here is a richly imagined universe, full of lush detail, human wisdom, and both humor and devastation. She bends space and time, leaping through generations in a few pages, or making a single interaction echo through a lifetime. This is an entertaining, masterful collection from a writer with awe-inspiring range.
— Caitlin Horrocks, author of Life Among the Terranauts
A language unsettling and of terrible beauty. These stories are startling and wise, all-knowing and versed in the infinite variation of human folly.
— Matthew Neill Null, author of Allegheny Front
Lloyd’s writing is deft at finding new ideas in eras past and making the contemporary seem timeless. And her language lends these stories physical depth that’s rare—descriptions aren’t just set dressing, a table here, a chair over there, but instead give heft, the weight of reality, to the characters feeling out their place in their worlds. This book shelves nicely in with the lineage of British writers who explore the quotidian with depth and range in order to discover the wondrous and strange at the edges of the day to day.
— Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company