‘In Winter The Sky’ by Jon McGregor

In this story of love and remorse spanning out through time, Joanna and George, who are young lovers at the beginning of the story, are haunted by choices made after a tragic accident, their opportunities and plans thwarted as a consequence. There is a hypnotic quality to the writing which the experimental structure only seems to enhance—fragments of poetry or poetic meditations about time, memory, and the history of the land interpolated with the prose. Half-deletions/strikethroughs, never full redactions, suggest absences; things partly hidden and uncovered, mistakes that refuse to be forgotten. Also, it feels to me, the structure creates a sensation of space paralleling the huge sky dominating the rural Norfolk landscape where the story is set. Indeed, the setting and the changeable mood of the sky—as signposted by the title—feel at least as much, if not more, a presence in the story as the two main characters.

First published in Granta, January 2012, and available to read here; collected in This Isn’t The Sort Of Thing That Happens To Someone Like You, Bloomsbury 2012

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