Saturday, 20 March 2010

Holly Howitt's Dinner Time, first selection

I was introduced to Holly Howitt's work at the Academi annual literature conference, this year at Gellifawr near Pontfaen, Wales. I gave a reading on the Saturday, and on the Sunday Holly was on a panel on flash fiction. I bought her collection of microfictions, Dinner Time, and have enjoyed it--it is by turns surreal, lyrical, wry, and disturbing, in unexpected combinations. Holly has given me permission to reprint here two of her pieces, and this is the first selection.


Nick sees me before I see him. I can only now be pleased to see him, and smile, but I know that the few seconds he has on me, catching my sad face, will mean that he has won. He takes my hand, says nothing, and walks me home from the tired and dirty station where even the pigeons forget to coo.

The next morning, I ask Nick what he would do if one day, I woke up, saw him on the pillow next to mine, and asked who he was. He says he wouldn't care, but as I take his hand I can feel his palm sweating. I smile, my larynx flutters.

Later, I try to work on my novel, but I cannot write anything with him looking over my shoulder. I feel that, somehow, he'll affect my words.

I can never win for long.

Holly Howitt
Dinner Time (Cinnamon Press, 2008)

You can buy the book here.

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