Format: paperback, B Format, 198 x 129mm, 144pp
Lara Williams is a writer based in Manchester.
Shortlisted for Saboteur Awards Best Short Story Collection 2016
Shortlisted for Republic of Consciousness Prize 2016
Long-listed for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017
“Dance like nobody gives a crap. Drink like you don’t have a family to go home to. Love because what else is the point.”
So says one of the characters in Lara Williams’ extraordinary debut story collection. Treats is a break-up album of tales covering relationships, the tyranny of choice, and self navigation. This fresh, beguiling new voice paints a portrait of contemporary adulthood, balancing wry humour with a pervading sense of alienation in the digital era.
Williams’ characters struggle with how to negotiate intimacy within relationships and isolation when single, the pitfalls and indignities of dating, dragged down by dissatisfaction. Meanwhile the dilemmas of life play out, including abortion, depression, extra-marital affairs, infatuation, new baby anxiety, bereavement, hair loss, sexual ethics, cats, and taxidermy.
Praise for Treats
‘I’ve picked out two short story collections this month and would highly recommend making time in your life to be exhilerated by both Vertigo by Joanna Walsh and Treats by Lara Williams. [Treats is] a glorious collection of linked stories about 20s something life in the 21st century that casts a sharp yet compassionate eye over falling in love, breaking up, friendship and work. Treats is Williams’ first book and I can’t wait for her to write another.’ Cathy Rentzenbrink, Stylist
‘Joining the consistently solid narration across stories are remarkable turns of phrase and evocative prose as the author laces the narrative with tangible, almost Instagram-able details that hint at her characters deepest desires. […] With hints of Noah Baumbach’s youthful existentialism and shades of Janice Galloway’s visceral prose, Lara Williams is one to watch.’ ***** The List
‘The energy in the author’s prose is an obvious plus point, and reading these little vignettes about struggling with the vagaries of modern life is a real breath of fresh air compared to the more stilted, conventional writing style prevalent in many new books. Williams knows how to cut to the quick in a story. […] the start of what will surely be [a] flourishing career.’ Doug Johnstone, The Big Issue
‘Lara Williams is a seriously impressive writer, and judging by her first short story collection, she is going to write some more things in the future that will really go KA-POW. […] The title story reminded me of something Katherine Mansfield might have written, if she lived in a world with iPhones and Topshop.’ Jessie Thompson, Huffington Post
‘Treats is a dark and bitter joy, and how Williams documents ‘the performance of love and the fire of it’ confirms her as an authoratative new voice… The Skinny’s literary discovery of 2016 so far, it may well remain so by year’s end.’ ***** The Skinny
‘Treats is both cool and well-paced. The debut short story collection focuses on modern women’s lives: dating, baby anxiety, affairs… taxidermy. It’s fresh, fun, and very thoughtful.’ Emerald Street
‘What a wonderful collection. Very smart and VERY funny. A stunning mix of measured wisdom and raw emotion. There’s also a real sense that these stories – beautiful in their own right – belong together. I loved the connection between them, and the way ideas were subtle and steadily developed from beginning to end.’ Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals
‘Maybe you meet someone. Maybe you fall in love. Maybe you break up. Maybe someone writes a book about your life. This is that book. Brilliant stories; awesome debut.’ Nicholas Royle, editor of Best British Short Stories 2015
‘Funny and witty and sad and painfully self-aware.’ Chris Killen, author of The Bird Room and In Real Life
‘[Treats] is described as a break-up album of tales covering relationships and their aftermath. So far, so Adele – but if the inescapable singer is the beige paint on a crumbling wall, this is more akin to sniffing that paint and seeing every colour in the rainbow.’ The Skinny
‘Each of these stories blows like a bracing wind – brilliantly written, devastating in parts but an acuity, a sense of the smallness and frailty of human relationships. Stories that make you seek shelter out of their keen urbane gaze.’ Helen McClory, author of On The Edges of Vision
‘Williams’ beautifully written, empathetic collection skillfully reveals something of what it is to be human and might just be the best book you’ll read this year.’ Sogo Magazine
‘Treats does read like a breath of fresh air, and is well worth your time if you’re interested in the contemporary short story.’ Cultured Vultures
‘Lara Williams’ debut collection is a bitterly funny answer to the cliches of self help and mindfulness. […] there is an enjoyable sharpness and clarity in Williams’ writing, and a hint of the surreal lurking beneath the surface.’ Tom Cuell, the Workshy Fop
‘Some stories couldn’t be read just once; they needed a second reading. Genuinely, they are that good… I have found a writer whose voice really resonated with me. Her stories are a social commentary for the disaffected 20-something. Buy this book!’ Lisa Talks About
‘From time to time one finds a book that is so good you can only get the sense of it and understand why it is so good by reading it. […] the kind of stories that might describe the lives of the characters in Hopper’s art.’ Blue Book Balloon
‘Lara Williams’ debut is probably my favourite short story collection and one of my favourite books of the year so far. [….] Treats is fresh, sharp, funny and brutally honest and I’ll be reading everything Lara Williams writes.’ So Little Time For Books
‘Williams has an astute grasp of her craft.’ Sabotage Reviews
‘A voice which has the ability to surprise and amuse.’ wordsandpictures
‘This is a cracking debut collection of short stories from a young local author. Its vicious little vignettes explore the fabric of modern relationships, as well as reflections on self and the city. […] We express ourselves in images, and through brilliant prose, Williams creates them.’ Now Then Manchester
‘There are few better examples of the format fitting with subject matter and style […] I realise the above might have painted Treats as a miserable, misanthropic text, but it really isn’t, or at least only in the way that The Smiths’ There is a Light That Never Goes Out or Pulp’s Common People is. Like those songs, Williams displays brevity, wit, and a desire to find something romantic in life, even though it may not be conventional, or exactly because it is unconventional. One of the reasons for reviewing Treats months after I first read it is that it hasn’t left me, and I have returned to my favourite stories again and again much as I do with certain tracks on a cherished album. There is something in them that makes me want to remember previous times, places and people. Like perfect pop songs in literary form, this is storytelling at its finest.’ Alistair Braidwood, Scots Whay Hae!
‘Lara Williams’ writing gets under your skin, sometimes painfully so.’ DURA