I introduced myself to Jim Crace when you could still find his email address online, as I’d written a book set in the suburb where he lived. By way of thanks for the generosity of his response, I bought him a lump of Mahon, because who doesn’t like cheese? Earlier, he had written a series of short stories about food. Number 39 is about a man who goes fishing and dies of botulism; like the other sixty-three it is droll and full of memorable images and, despite its elegance, insidiously unnerving too.
First published in The Devil’s Larder, Viking, 2001