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The Poison that Fascinates

by Jennifer Clement

On the surface this seems to be an ordinary story of love and loss, the story has been cleverly woven to lure you into a false sense of well being, only to stun you into unease right at the end. The main character seems to be quiet and without guile, but reader beware. Intriguing, with an easy feel but undertones of surrealism.

Extract

Emily thinks of the word 'intruder'.
She thinks of the word 'prowler'.
One morning, two days after Emily finds the pillow removed from the bed and placed on the floor, she visits the orphanage. As she enters she finds that the children are gathered in the building's inner courtyard lined up to get on the school bus and go to the National Anthropology Museum. Since Emily is studying history at the university Mother Agata asks her to come along as their guide.
'The Japanese' are unable to leave the orphanage because their injuries are still too grave for them to move around easily. Mother Agata sets them up at the kitchen table with a large jug of lemonade and a plate of toffee candies made from goat's milk. On the table she has also laid out large pieces of cardboard drawing paper and pots of paint and paintbrushes.

Parallels

The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis
Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale
 

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