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The Master of Chaos

and Other Fables

Pauline Melville

The Master of Chaos by Pauline Melville

A Nobel laureate struggles to write a convincing suicide note; a hobo sings of hope in the darkest hours after the Grenfell disaster; in a strange post-death waiting room, Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary exchange confidences, and a scientist finally discovers the appalling truth about a boyhood friendship. Unpredictable, haunting, with a streak of black humour, this collection ranges across the world, from Petersburg to Guyana, Syria to London, Argentina to Edinburgh. Its diverse characters are caught up in wars or revolution, escaping the past or finally returning to confront it.

RRP: £14.99
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781913207540
Publication Date: 01/07/2021
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Pauline Melville
Pauline Melville is a British Guyanese writer who has worked at the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre and in television, film and cabaret. Her first novel, The Ventriloquist’s Tale...


‘In this virtuoso performance, Pauline Melville shows us a world in upheaval, and reminds us that that’s where we live.’

Salman Rushdie

‘A collection of 14 brilliant, diverse and utterly intriguing short stories, laced through with dark humour’

Ron McKay, The Herald

‘This was just right for me at this busy time of life. There is love, politics, compassion, magic, and humour.’

Benjamin Zephaniah, Vogue

‘Darkly funny, these stories are political and bold, refusing to shy away from dictators, occupations or revolutions.’


‘Quirky, wise and extraordinary.’

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian

‘Terrific read beautifully written.’

Roger Graef OBE


Oliver Double, comedian

‘I enjoyed this short story collection, though can't put my finger on exactly why. Well worth a read.’

Jacob Aron (Editor, New Scientist)

‘Fresh and totally absorbing... The perfect read for yet another globally turbulent summer.’

Paul Bradshaw, Ancient to Future

‘A compelling and unique short story collection.’

Lou, readers_retreat

‘Cleverly written and so gripping.’

Kirsty Lock, Fiction Vixen Reads

Latest News

The Master of Chaos: Short Story Competition (of sorts)

To celebrate the launch of Pauline Melville’s new short story collection, The Master of Chaos, we’re holding a short story writing competition (of sorts) on Twitter. Read on for full...