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Why Don't You Stop Talking?

by Jackie Kay

A collection of stories about people who appear conventional on the outside but live with a secret. The beginnings are unpretentious but something changes the main character and the endings are bizarre. I enjoyed the stories but got annoyed with some of the characters.

Extract

When Louis left for school, she got down on her knees and crawled to the garden. It was much easier on all fours, a huge relief. She felt herself shrink and shrink, she felt the scales grow on her forelimbs and around the side until she felt a crusty, marginal edge forming. It was a glorious feeling of relief, close to euphoria. It was as if she had been turned inside out. She felt fantastically good. The world from down here was full of simple pleasures. Her sight was still sharp, but different. All she could see close up was the sharpness of a blade of grass, the impossible darkness of the earth. She dug down into the soil moving over small black hills, behind bushes, moving surprisingly quickly, till she found what she was looking for. She jumped on a pink, juicy translucent worm and ate it hastily. She sniffed the dark earth for a snail.

Parallels

Complete Short Stories by J G Ballard
The Whole Story by Ali Smith
 

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