Sunday, 8 January 2017

Shoe Fly Baby

'Shoe Fly Baby' is the Asham Award Prize short story collection edited by Kate Pullinger. I recommended a short story by Kate a while back in another anthology. I drifted though this book a little, kept coming back to half read stories with no recollection of what had been happening, I'm afraid that does not recommend it very highly, or maybe I am just in such a bad slump at the moment I was not concentrating. 
The one that struck me most was 'An angel in the garden' by Jane Maltby, about an elderly woman who's life is altered by a car crash at the bottom of her garden. She forms a bond with the family of the young man who is killed, while her own faculties go into rapid decline. It has a lovely metaphor of cryptic crossword clues running though the story, reflecting the confusion she increasingly experiences: 

"She kept finding bits, all over the place, even after they'd cleaned up. Not from the victim, of course not, that would be silly, although he went straight out through the windscreen and along the road, face down, they told her. She didn't look. Even when all the neighbours ran down their gardens to the road, and all the police cars with their lights were parked all over the grass, and it was even on the radio, the cars were queued up for that long.
The boy's car embraced the lamp-post deeply. That was the thought that struck her. It had sucked the post into its vitals. Glass and metal lay on the ground, and there were the bits that, weeks after the crash, she kept crunching over when she finally went down, to check the flowers. The body had come to rest perhaps twenty yards away, just on the boundary with her neighbours, who kept cats. Just inside the boundary. It was her accident, all right." (p.62)


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