The Loudest Sound and Nothing

I bought a dozen new books at the 12th Cork International Short Story Festival, all short story collections. Last night, I finished Clare Wigfall’s debut collection The Loudest Sound and Nothing (Faber & Faber, 2007). It’s an interesting, eclectic collection rich with seventeen diverse stories and a plethora of characters. I especially appreciated how Clare ended her stories–often on a downbeat and someplace surprising and unexpected, and always satisfying.

From Clare Wigfall’s, “Folks Like Us”:

“What happened next all went so fast I didn’t know what was going on at first. ‘Fore I knew it, Bonnie’s scrambled up and grabbed at my Colt which we always have close by us when we sleep, and a shot rings out, so damn loud it feels like the sky might crack up, and there was a fallin and a crash and then there was this goddamn fella in a sheriff’s uniform lyin just a nickel’s width from Bonnie’s toe. For a second there she just stood still and watched that fella lyin on the dirt. He was crumpled over himself, left leg bent back crooked, right arm reachin out almost to Bonnie’s foot, a pistol ridgin the dirt where it’d skidded from his hand, big face slammed up against the gravel, fat lips gookin out like a baby’s might when suckin, eyes still as marbles. And Bonnie just stood there quiet, her face pinched in like a doughball. She didn’t say nothin. I’d sat up and I could feel the sun hot on my neck and I could feel a trickle of sweat travelin down ‘tween my shoulder blades, real slow like, tricklin plenty, but still I didn’t curve back my arm to wipe it away. Then she done turns to me and out slips them thoughts that is skeetin through her mind, Clyde … Clyde … what you think? Maybe he’s not dead, Clyde.”

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