‘Solstice’ by Anne Enright

Solstice by Anne Enright, 2017

The magic trick:

Casting planetary movements against the comparatively paltry concerns of a typical family

It’s the longest night of the year, the winter solstice. This is big stuff. The earth rotating and orbiting and things like that. Makes you think.

Contrast that with the small-stage drama of the family in this story. I’m not dismissing them. I’m just saying their stresses and interests and problems do not differentiate them from anyone in particular.

So it’s an interesting thing – the movement of the planet combined with the daily existence of a typical Dublin family. And that’s quite a trick on Enright’s part.

The selection:

“Sorry that was so,” she says. “It was just a rustle-up.”

“Lovely,” he says.

Oh, great, he thinks. On the longest night, his wife with that look in her eye that says, Christmas is coming and it is all turning to shite.

Correction. His wife with a look that says, Christmas is coming and it is all your fault.

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