‘Two’ by Joanna Walsh

I came across Joanna Walsh’s stories for the first time only a few months ago. They’re experimental, not ‘easy’ and on a first reading I found many of them sterile, lacking the emotion which I crave in a story. But what I discovered was that they went on to snag at my mind in a disquieting ways until undercurrents of emotion rose to the surface.  In ‘Two’, the narrator has “two polished and uncomplaining companions”. One holds the other by the hand. Though clearly inanimate, they play a very important part in the narrator’s life, though not in a straightforward or comfortable way. In this as in another story I might have chosen from this collection, Travelling Light, love co-exists with anxiety. So it is in life. For me reading (and writing) stories is a way of making sense of a world which, let’s face it, is nigh-on incomprehensible these days to many of us.

(In Worlds from the Word’s End, published by And Other Stories, 2017)

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