‘Revenge’ by Ellen Gilchrist

I have a huge soft spot for Ellen Gilchrist, who I first came across when I was 18 or 19. She never shies away from showing the nastier sides of her characters. Set in 1943 in the Mississippi Delta, the narrator of the story is Rhoda Manning, aged 10—a thoroughly unpleasant, foul-mouthed and narcissistic child whose family refer to her as “dear sweet little girl.” When her cousins and brother build a broad-jump pit and won’t let her play because she is a girl, Rhoda gets increasingly more and more angry.
I began to pray the Japs would win the war, would come marching into Issaquena County and take them prisoners, starving and torturing them…
From In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, Faber and Faber, 1981

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