Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lunchtime read: For Esme with Love and Squalor...

This story is both quirky and supernatural and the sting in the tail is left until the every last sentence. Those looking for examples of what short stories can do should look at the second half of this as a great illustration of how pace can be gently introduced, at a pace that is almost imperceptible, and a twist can come from a reference buried in the text several pages before the event happens.

Teddy
* A young boy who has captivated professors round the world with his arguments that he is reincarnated and that the true road to understanding God is through meditation and spiritual concentration

* He is challenged by an academic who is on the same boat travelling back from Europe to the US and asks him why he responded to some of the questions professors asked him about predicting death – in response Teddy outlines a possible scenario where his sister pushes him into an empty pool and kills him

* The professor is obviously disturbed not just by Teddy’s views but by his self confidence and the meeting between them ends with him pausing for thought before running after the 10 year old genius

* As he gets down to E deck and nears the pool he hears a shriek of a young girl rebounding off four tiled walls and you realise that the scenario that Teddy sketched out for his own death has happened exactly as he foretold

* Great twist and well written in the second half in particular – a bit of a slow starter but gets there in the end

A review will follow shortly but this has been difficult reading because it was truncated while there was a dispute with my own child genius about exactly where he had hidden the book…

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