I have a new story A Peacock, A Pig out in an anthology, Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology: Volume 7.
Scott Pack has reviewed my story on his blog Me And My Big Mouth:
Story: A Peacock, A Pig
Author: Benjamin Myers
A bit of a stunner, this one. It reminded me of Kes, but with a pig.
It may actually be a bit of a masterpiece.
A young boy lives with his mother on their farm. One morning he accepts a piglet from one of his mother’s male visitors: ‘Tell you Mam it’s payment.’ He grows quite attached to it. But the girl he fancies as school prefers peacocks. Isn’t that always the way? That won’t stop him though. If she likes peacocks then a peacock she shall have.
Myers manages to juxtapose scenes of grim Northern landscape and earthy reality with moments of romance and beauty:
“There is a girl. A classmate whose freckles make him feel dizzy. She is not the prettiest girl or the most popular girl or the cleverest but she is the nicest girl because she let him hold his hand. For a few fleeting moments one breaktime when no-one was looking she and the boy made a connection.”
The first half of the story is pitch perfect. It sets things up in terms of tone and plot. The second half, though, is what takes this into modern classic territory.
Dark and inevitable and with one of the finest last lines I have read. It is fucking heartbreaking.
The best short story I have read in quite a while. And I read loads of the buggers.
You probably won’t be able to write a story as good as this but if you fancy giving it a go the 2015 Bristol Short Story Prize has just opened its imaginary doors.
Rating: ***** (5/5)