I read this story at a time when my children were of a similar age to the two children of the woman whose internal monologue carries it. ‘Caravan’ arrested me in an almost physical way. It was a kind of shock to me that a short story could capture so absolutely the push-pull and escaped-trapped feel of a family holiday with small children on a campsite in France.
There is much about this story that rang painfully true to me then, but still even now. It made we wince at the ordinary ache of it all. I have never forgotten the image it produced in my mind of Michelle backing out the door of their flimsy, temporary accommodation, cleaning cloth in hand, on their departure at the end. ‘Caravan’ has stayed with me from the moment I first finished it, and it lives on in my head.
First published in The Guardian, October 2007, and available to read online here; collected in Taking Pictures, Jonathan Cape, 2008