‘As They Rode Along the Edge’ by Leonora Carrington

Virginia Fur lives in an abandoned village, and rides around, ‘between precipices, across trees,’ on a wheel. She has ‘a mane of hair yards long and enormous hands with dirty nails’, and she smells pretty interesting. Virginia Fur falls for a wild boar called Igname after he declares his love, dressed up for the occasion in a wig of squirrels’ tails and fruit, and with a nightjar perched atop his head. How could she resist? I couldn’t. Sadly, their furious passion is short-lived. Carrington’s stories often tread a line between the fabulous and the wilfully surreal, and ones that tip too far in the latter direction can make for a bewildering read. This one delivers the satisfaction of all Carrington’s strange imaginative flourishes adorning a story that we can recognise: love lost and avenged. I can’t remember where I first found this story, but it has lodged in my imagination ever since. Carrington’s work is a great reminder to let rip when it comes to writing, to embrace ideas and let them ride their wheels into the wild.

in The Seventh Horse and Other Tales, Virago, 1989

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