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Kith and Kin

by Stevie Davies

Mara reflects on her relationship with her cousin Francesca, her alter ego, a wild child killed by the Sixties - or was it murder with an undertone of incest? The ambiguities and half-said aspects of her recollections create an uneasy tension about her truthfulness as teller. Perhaps this is to do with the self-deception and self-blame experienced by the bereaved of those of die young.

Extract

Francesca's in the room with us now. The voice often fails to hit the right note, but she makes a virtue of wrong notes, thrusting them out at you, polishing nothing, pretending nothing. You can hear the faulty breathing, her breath husky with smoke. A singer using her own gut for strings. This is for real. And how can Aaron pretend to himself that the person who sang this way could ever be at peace? Dead, yes; at peace, no. The qualms I have involve the knowledge, which I'm trying to transfer to Aaron, that we were part of the team of butchers. In the end she's just bellowing and screaming, and the only words I can make out are 'Shootin' up, shootin' up!'

Parallels

What the Birds See by Sonya Hartnett
 

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