Clearly Defined Clouds : Jude Higgins

This brilliant new collection by Jude Higgins showcases her mastery of condensed storytelling. Subtle, nuanced, and full of depth, Clearly Defined Clouds is run through with dreams and magic, the unexpected and the playful (see the Greek god piloting a paraglider). Higgins’ characters are peculiar, intelligent, flawed, and seeking. There’s an exquisite balance of richness and white space in these stories that feels profound, electric. It takes an abundance of skill to create the worlds Jude Higgins does in so few words. But beyond the obvious command of craft, her very particular worldview and wry understanding of human nature are delightfully on display here. No one else could write these stories just the way she does. To all who love flash fiction, and especially to students of the form, I can’t recommend this collection highly enough.
— Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works.

Clearly Defined Clouds is a wise and playful collection of short fiction, drenched in humor, ache and delight. The natural world hums through these stories which explore the emotional complexity of human relationships, including couples mis-communicating with flags, a child stealing baby Jesus, Jack and Jill as teenage hippies, and Persephone in a Zoom call. In turns both absurd and tender, these wildly inventive narratives are imbued with layers of meaning, keen observations and cinematic details, from the smallest earwig to a bluebell forest and a clogged toilet. Jude Higgins is an extraordinary writer with boundless imagination, and this highly memorable and deeply affecting collection is one to both savour and celebrate.
— Sara Hills, author of The Evolution of Birds

Jude Higgins is a master of flash fiction, and Clearly Defined Clouds is a brilliant collection. What I love about her work is that every piece both captures something magical and evokes wonder for her readers. Sometimes it is infused with surreality or magical realism such as when Persephone gives advice on Zoom to people who are learning to endure the loneliness of the Covid 19 lockdown or when Jill considers Jack years after the events of their song. Sometimes it captures the magic of the everyday with a yarn bomber or the child of a sick father playing with his father’s childhood teddy bear. What she always does, however, is find those moments for better or worse that make the world different and beautiful, those moments we often shut our eyes to, and she has us meditate upon them in a way we never have before.
— John Brantingham, author of Life, Orange to Pear

In Clearly Defined Clouds Jude Higgins demonstrates her enormous talent for writing small tales that often surprise and take the reader off in unexpected directions. Each story in this imaginative and engaging collection is exquisitely composed and satisfying. Highly recommended.
— Diane Simmons, author of A Tricky Dance

Anyone familiar with the work of Jude Higgins will be delighted by her latest collection of short-short fiction, Clearly Defined Clouds, and those who are new to her work will soon become fans. In these small tales she exudes wisdom and a deep understanding of human foibles and frailties as well as our capacity to forgive and accept that the best others can do is sometimes more than enough. The stories are at times tender, comic, eviscerating, wistful, nostalgic and hopeful. They repurpose mythology and folklore, revisit first love, reflect on older love. Relationships grow stale, conversations wither or are misconstrued, only to be renewed in another story by startling, moving moments of grace and love. The characters in these stories are often in a state of flux, but even when the future is uncertain, it is suffused with a vibrant life force. The final line of the last story ‘Before the Diggers Come’ perfectly encapsulates this gorgeous collection: If we join all chinks of hope together, they make a necklace that can’t be broken.
— Alison Woodhouse author of The House on the Corner

Paperback ISBN 978-1-912095-77-3; 133mm x 203mm; 146pp

Relase Date: 8th July
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