‘Countless Stones’ by Lucy Wood

When I started blogging, one of the things I wanted to do was look at what new authors around my age were writing. I found some absolute gems doing this, writers whose work I’d be following keenly. Lucy Wood was one of them, right from her debut collection.

The stories in Diving Belles draw on Cornish folklore in various ways, but ultimately Wood creates her own world. ‘Countless Stones’ begins with its protagonist, Rita, starting to petrify – and not for the first time. Vivid though Wood’s description of this process is, to Rita it’s just another inconvenience. She has to check whether there’s anything in the fridge that might spoil while she’s ‘away’; and her ex, Danny, will insist that she join him for a house viewing. Rita can no more move on from Danny than she can escape her transformation into a standing stone.

Quite a lot of fiction that tries to balance the fantastic against everyday reality can come across to me as gimmicky. On the other hand, a true sense of ‘magic’ lives within Lucy Wood’s work, which is why it continues to haunt me.

(Read and first published in the collection Diving Belles, Bloomsbury, 2012)