‘Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains’ by AL Kennedy

The One with The Devastating Ending:

Everyone knows that, line for line, AL Kennedy is the best prose writer in the English language (including non-fiction; read her book ‘On Bullfighting’). This story was the first thing I ever read of hers, and ever since I’ve carried around the phrase “the good weight of him” as an example of how to get things perfectly, exactly right.

It all felt very pleasant. The good weight of him, snuggled down there, the smell of his hair when I kissed the top of his head. I did that. I told him I could never do enough, or be enough, or give enough back and I kissed the top of his head. I told him I belonged to him. I think he was asleep.

Kennedy deals with small, specific things. With the important details – of relationships, and train timetables, and the way couples arrange themselves together in bed. She’s the opposite of flashy, of show-offy writing, of fireworks. This story is about the importance of small lives, of the everyday, and of the awful, awful fragility of it all.

(in Night Geometry and the Garscadden Trains, Polygon 1990)

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