‘Finishing Touch’ by Claire-Louise Bennett

I think I’m going to throw a little party. A perfectly arranged but low-key soiree. I have so many glasses, after all.

The narrator spends almost the entirety of this story going over in agonising detail what might or might not happen at the party she is about to throw. What will people bring to drink? What will she say when people ask what the party is for? Will she go upstairs with people when they look round the house? And which, oh which of the guests will sit on the Ottoman?

The story is a fraught anticipation of a story. Why write about something that has happened, or is happening, when you can write about anticipating something that is about to happen?

First published in Stinging Fly 29:2, Winter 2014, and available to read herecollected in Pond, Stinging Fly, 2014/Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2015

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