‘Go When You See the Green Man Walking’ by Christine Brooke-Rose

Better known for her longer fiction and criticism, Brooke-Rose wasn’t very interested in having her stories collected. This is from a recent reissue by Verbivoracious Press, for which I wrote an introduction. I have not read anything more like being a woman walking alone through a strange city: “One could walk miles and miles obeying the code.”

From Go When You See the Green Man Walking, Michael Joseph, 1970. Reissued by Verbivoracious Press, 2014

‘Red Rubber Gloves’ by Christine Brooke-Rose

I think I read somewhere that Brooke-Rose disowned the novels she wrote prior to Out (1964) on account of not having ‘read Saussure yet’ – which sounds like her, doesn’t it? Anyway, I hope she didn’t disown the short stories too – especially this queasy bit of domestic horror in which nothing much and something awful happen at the same time. It’s a bit Rear Window, this, and a bit Alain Robbe-Grillet, too.

Ali Smith described Muriel Spark as ‘blithe’ recently, and I think the word also applies to Brooke-Rose (and to Gilliatt too, in fact). Absolutely no messing about with ‘rounded’ characters and warm human hearts here.

From Go When You See The Green Man Walking, Michael Joseph, 1970