The short fiction in Walking Backwards is very human and very distinctive.
"With Walking Backwards Charlie Hill gives us dense fragments of closely-observed lives, obsessive interiors and broken, unspoken loves. The result is touching, funny, melancholy.” AL Kennedy
“Charlie Hill dissects the solitary, dignified struggles of day to day life with great tenderness – his stories are beautiful and moving, a balance of cool observation and tenderness. A brilliant collection.” Catherine O'Flynn
“Charlie Hill writes artfully about the gaps between people, of those caught out by love or hushed by pain, or others seeking order within chaos, solace in the face of change.” Catherine McNamara
The title story from the collection may be enjoyed below.
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The man who walked backwards lived in a house for people who had no house to live in. The house was called Ilfracombe House. I don’t know why.
When I moved into Ilfracombe House, I met the man who walked backwards. He was always there, walking backwards through the house. He walked up and down the stairs backwards, in and out of the lounge backwards, through the kitchen backwards. He even walked backwards along the hall.
One day, I asked the man why he walked backwards. He said he’d read that our hearts only beat a certain number of times before we die, and, if this were so, it made sense that we could only take a certain number of steps too. Each time we took a step forwards then, we were literally moving a step closer to the end of our life. Whereas, if we walked backwards, we were moving away from it, cheating death a step at a time.
This story first appeared in Spelk
"...intensely observed fragments of ordinary lives, and all give pause for thought. Standout stories are The School Run, its effect achieved more by what’s left unsaid than what’s actually said, and The Allotment, with its sting-in-the-tail ending..."
Brian Maye, The Irish Times, full review here