‘This Paradise’ by Ruby Cowling

This story moves along with Cowling’s characteristic elegance towards a quietly dramatic end. I like the crisp prose and careful though unobtrusive analysis of family life in the lead up to an expected hurricane. There are some lovely cool observations dissecting the professional (academic?) couple within family life including their disinclination to shelter their gardener who faces the same force of the storm. These is a distance in their connection to their environment and towards their sons, a kind of heartlessness which the narrator, the children’s nanny or au pair, picks up. As she strains to maintain an equilibrium. I love the sense of the landscape in which the family live, which evokes their vulnerability.

First published in This Paradise, Boiler House Press, 2019

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