‘Red From Green’ by Maile Meloy

Red From Green by Maile Meloy, 2003

The magic trick:

Pushing the reader right up to and maybe beyond what they would normally accept as normal

We begin a week of Maile Meloy work with one of the best stories of the century so far.

There is an air of normalcy that remains throughout this story, which is incredibly troubling given the events that occur. Meloy walks every character, every aspect of the story right up to the precipice of tolerable, then demands the reader to extend their own tolerance maybe further than they would have expected.

No one in the story asks the crucial questions. No broaches the crucial subjects or asks the central questions. Instead, life carries on, burying these tiny and not-so-tiny tragedies. And that’s quite a trick on Meloy’s part.

The selection:

At camp that afternoon her father went fishing and she walked away from the river, up toward the hills. The grass in the open was pale yellow, and the path through the trees spiked with sunshine, but she was thinking about boarding school. She had a sense that she wasn’t equipped for it. And she was wondering if she really had perfect teeth, and if anyone but adults would ever care. When Layton came through the trees she knew she’d wanted him to show up, though she hadn’t known it before. His attention was different from other adult attention.

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