The wit and sardonic humour which distinguished Sara O’Leary’s first book, Wish You Were Here are very much in evidence in this new collection of short fiction. Comfort Me With Apples has a wider range, though, and deeper resonances. Ten short stories combine with a novella, “Big As Life”, to evoke and explore life after the “nuclear family”. The characters in these stories display a kind of muddled bravery as they reflect without judgement on the failures of their parents’ generation, and face the task of creating rules from sctatch: for themselves, their friends, their lovers and their children. Self-righteousness has no place in Sara O’Leary’s world. The tensions between her characters’ humour and the heartbreaks which underpin it, charge every story with fierce, compressed energy. Yet it is moments of tenderness, wry and understated, which linger and haunt the reader.