‘Creche’ by Richard Ford

Ford, Richard 1998

Creche by Richard Ford, 1998

The magic trick:

Showing one character’s mental baggage during the holidays

This is a five-person family Christmas trip told in the third person but from only one of the character’s point of view. We are looking at this mess of a ski vacation from lovely lawyer Faith’s vantage point, and it is not a pretty scene. What is most remarkable is how much she has going on in her brain and in her life that she is not talking to her family about. She is sharing a bed with her mother, a woman she seems to feel little to no angst for. They have a good relationship. But no, not much communication there. Faith has a whole ton of fears and worries and secret sadness. As the reader, we get access to it all, but we’re the only ones who seem to know. A sad comment on the stresses of adult life with no companion. And that’s quite a trick on Ford’s part.

The selection:

Naturally Faith has locked Roger out. Roger can die alone and cold in the snow. Or he can sleep in a doorway or by a steam pipe or somewhere in the Snow Mountain Highlands complex and explain his situation to the security staff. Roger will not sleep with his pretty daughters this night. She is taking a hand in things now. These girls are hers. Though, how naïve of her not to know that an offer to take the girls would immediately be translated by Roger into an invitation to fuck him. She has been out of touch with things middle American. How strange that Roger, too, would say, “Eff-ing.” He probably also says “X-mas.”

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