Anthony Cummins

Something Colourful, Something Black

Vertigo

By

And Other Stories 123pp £8.99 order from our bookshop
 

These icy soliloquies of disenchanted womanhood tear up the familiar soft furnishings of fictional narrative. Characters don’t have names or obvious occupations, though one speaker – or are they all the same? – mentions working with children’s books; she is, like the author, a successful illustrator. It’s tempting to see Vertigo as a moonlit flit to the anti-pictorial, with no scene-setting, unless you count occasional, almost comically precise itemisations of fixtures and fittings, such as the seating arrangements in a restaurant where a cheated-on wife wearily contemplates tit-for-tat infidelity with her pompous dining companion.

The atmosphere is downbeat, the situations everyday. The narrator of ‘Summer Story’ takes a man to bed and regrets the lack of any sequel, though she didn’t seem to like him much in the first place. In ‘Relativity’, a woman visits her parents

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