Plot

Nothing is spared and nothing is explained. No motive, no reason. Eventually we will get there but not now, and anyway these are not really very important. What is important is that we are pitched headlong into the story. Propelled by pity and terror. [Read more]

A gentleman

“To be honourable and courteous and brave,” he says. What is wrong with that? Why is that useless? Perhaps because Lewis does not wish to persuade us to be gentlemen; he wishes to persuade us to be Christians. [Read more]

Ambush

You don’t see praying mantises much any more. They’ve disappeared, along with grasshoppers and crickets. I remember them from my childhood in Brooklyn. On hot summer days occupying a place on the sidewalk, indifferent to everything, waiting and still, a little frightening in their composure. [Read more]

Special Meetings

The women were saved to a place of emotional gratification not otherwise on offer in their lives. The men were saved from the filthiness of their natural desires. It was all about sex, really. Their disappointments they kept to themselves. Washed in the Blood of the Lamb. Trusting in the Promises of God. [Read more]

Mildred

It was a common name for girls among Norwegian immigrants. Rutgersen, Börresen, Dahl, Aarstad. And others. All produced Mildreds. The vogue lasted across at least two generations. No one names girls that any more, not since the War. [Read more]

Uncle Knud

In 1920 the police think Knud is still visiting his parents. In Vasby Kro, one imagines, the police were sometimes lied to. In 1921 they have given up and stamped his card “withdrawn.” As well they might, since he had been in New York since 1911. [Read more]