‘Lovers’ by GE Armitage

I have known for a long time that GE Armitage and Robert Edric are the same person. I can’t remember if it was ever a secret, if I was ever supposed not to tell anyone, but given that Duncan McLaren, among others, has talked about it in his fascinating book Pen Pals (published online at penpals.org.uk), I think it’s probably fine. Gary – for that is his real name  – must be the only writer to have published two first novels in 1985 and two second novels in 1986. The way to do that is to publish under two different names – and to write very quickly, which he does. He has continued to be prolific, but only as Robert Edric, GE Armitage having been retired after two novels. Two novels and at least one short story, this one. It is another of those stories, like Cox’s, where you have to concentrate and pick up clues to work out what’s going on. I think it is probably simpler than I am making it sound. It has two threads; we switch from one to the other and back again throughout the story, a device that works extremely well for such a short piece. What I really like about it is even after concentrating, even after picking up clues, there are still some things we don’t know. Robert Edric has published some short fiction, and very good it has been too, but I wish GE Armitage would give the form another go.
(London Magazine, April/May 1986)